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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
 

DISCOVERIES

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/DEVELOPED

Devices

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
 

Techniques

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
 

HONORS

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

John Scott Medal (1967)