Erwin Chargaff Erwin Chargaff, born 1905 in Czernowiz, Austria, was a pioneer in biochemistry contributing to the understanding of DNA. He, in 1928, earned his doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of Vienna’s Spath’s Institute in 1928. Erwin began his career in biochemistry at Yale University, working under Rudolph J. Anderson from 1928 to 1930. His early work included stories of the complex lipids, the fats or fatty acids that occur in microorganisms. Helping discover the unusual fatty acids and waxes in acid-fast mycobacteria led him to study the metabolism and biological role of lipids in the body.