Frank Young (biochemist)

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Sir Frank George Young FRS[1] (25 March 1908 – 20 September 1988) was a distinguished biochemist, noted for his work on diabetes, and the first Master of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Early life

Young was born in London and educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich and University College, London where he graduated in chemistry and physics in 1929. After graduating, he remained at UCL to do postgraduate research in the field of biochemistry.


Academic career

As a research fellow Young studied diabetes at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Toronto. At the age of 34 he was awarded his first chair when appointed in 1942 as the Professor of Biochemistry at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, University of London. Thereafter his advancement was rapid, becoming professor of biochemistry at UCL in 1945 and then, in 1949, being elected as the third Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at Cambridge University, a post he was to hold for the ensuing 26 years. His Cambridge appointment coincided with his election in March 1949 to Fellowship of the Royal Society.[1]

At Cambridge, Young became a Fellow of Trinity Hall until in 1964 he was appointed as the first Master of the new Darwin College, a position he held until 1976. Doctoral students of Young's during his tenure at Cambridge include Sir Philip Randle.[2]

Young served on numerous national and international bodies including the Medical Research Council (1950–1954), the Executive Council of the Ciba Foundation (1954–1977), the British Nutrition Foundation, of which he was a co-founder in 1967 and served as President from 1970 to 1976).

He also served on various government advisory bodies including the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (1957 - 1980), the Advisory Committee on the Irradiation of Food, the Royal Commission on Medical Education (1965 - 1968), the Council of the International Union of Biochemistry (1961 - 1972) and the Executive Board of the International Council of Scientific Unions (1970- 1974).

His interests in diabetes were reflected in his service as a Vice-President of the British Diabetic Association from 1948, President of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes from 1965 to 1968, and President of the International Diabetes Federation from 1970 to 1973.

He was knighted for his services to biochemistry in the 1973 New Year Honours.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Randle, P. (1990). "Frank George Young. 25 March 1908-20 September 1988". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 36: 582–599. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1990.0045.
  2. H. Brown. (2006.) Sir Philip Randle, The Lancet, 368(9548):1644.

Further reading

National Archives

Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry, Cambridge University
1949 - 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New position
Master of Darwin College, Cambridge
1964 - 1970
Succeeded by

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