Russell Henry Chittenden (1856 – 1943)

white lineRussell Henry Chittenden, known as the father of American biochemistry, was the leading American biochemist during the 40 years he taught and conducted research at the Yale Medical School and the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale.  Chittenden studied the chemistry of digestion, especially protein digestion, and challenged the dogma of the day, supported by W.C. Atwater, that humans needed at least 118 grams of protein a day to stay healthy.  Through nitrogen balance experiments on himself, his colleagues, students, and soldiers, Chittenden demonstrated that only half that much protein was needed.  Chittenden helped found many scientific societies,  including the American Physiological Society, serving as its president from 1895 to 1904. His home in New Haven is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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