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Humberto Fernandez Morán

Humberto Fernandez-Morán Villalobos, Venezuelan biophysicist and microscopist (La Cañada de Urdaneta District, Maracaibo 19 February 1924 – Stockholm 17 March 1999)

From Basque, Sephardic Jewish and Carib Indian descent

Worked most of his career in United States and Sweden


First to uncover the complexity of mitochondrial membranes structure
Discovered Fernandez-Morán particles or F1 particles or oxysomes in mitochondria (1962) 
With Dahl performed first electron microscopy sections of pollen grains (1952)
First electron microscopic studies of peripheral myelin (1950) independent from Sjostrand (1950)
First electron microscopic observations of radially repeating layers in myelin (1950s)
Discovered the paracrystalline character of the myelin sheath
With J.D. Green & R. Luft first to study the electron microscopy of the anterior pituitary (1949)
Described submicroscopic nerve fibers and other macromolecular complexes



Introduced cryo-ultramicrotomy with biological specimens (1952)
A diamond knife for ultrathin sectioning. Exptl. Cell Res. 5:255-6, 1953 (US Patent 3060.781)
A new microtome with a diamond knife. Industrial Diamond Rev. 16:128-33, 1956
Introduced concept of cryo electron microscopy  and the cryo electron microscope
Introduced cryo-ultramicrotome
Introduced the use of superconducting objective lens at liquid helium temperature in electron microscopy (Fernandez Moran superconducting lens)
Designed first the use of superconducting cryostat lenses in transmission electron microscopy (1966)
Improved ultramicrotomes
Developed ultra sharp diamond edges for ultra thin sectioning and as a point cathode (1969)
Developed sample holders for liquid nitrogen and hydrogen
Developed pointed filaments and single crystal filaments for electron micrographs

With P. Dennis, A. Caski, J. Sprenger & W. Rawler. Spectrometre à resonance magnétique nucléaire utilisant des transistors. Archives des Sciences 10:233-4, 1957


With Bullivant first to apply freeze-substitution techniques to ultrastructural studies (1957-60)
With J.B. Finean introduced gelatin as an embedding technique medium for electron microscopy (1957) independent from Gilev (1958)  
Developed ultra-rapid cryofixation technique employing liquid helium (1960)
Described a technique of negative staining of mitochondrial membranes (1962)
Described a gelatin-glycerin technique for freezing microtome


Claude Bernard Medal, Université de Montreal (1967)
Doctor Honoris Causa, Milton University
Nobel Prize nominee 

John Scott Medal (1967)