Bernardo Alberto Houssay was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 10, 1887, one of the eight children of Dr. Albert and Clara (née Laffont) Houssay, who had come to Argentina from France. His father was a barrister. His early education was at a private school, the Colegio Británico. He then entered the School of Pharmacy of the University of Buenos Aires at the exceptionally early age of 14, graduating in 1904. He had already begun studying medicine and, in 1907, before completing his studies, he took up a post in the Department of Physiology. He began here his research on the hypophysis which resulted in his M.D.-thesis (1911), a thesis which earned him a University prize.
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