Feodor Lynen was born in Munich on 6 April 1911. He started his studies at the chemistry department of Munich University in 1930 and graduated in March 1937 under Heinrich Wieland with the work: "On the Toxic Substances in Amanita". Lynen remained in Germany throughout World War II. In 1942 he became a chemistry lecturer at the Munich University. In 1947 he became an assistant professor and in 1953 a professor of biochemistry. From 1954 onwards he was Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Cellular Chemistry in Munich, a position which was created for him at the instigation of two senior Scientists, Otto Warburg and Otto Hahn. In 1972, that institute was merged into the newly founded Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in 1972. Also in 1972, Lynen was named President of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh).
In 1964 he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with Konrad Bloch for their discoveries concerning the mechanism and regulation of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism. These discoveries took many years to work out. The Nobel Committee felt that this was important because understanding the metabolism of sterols and fatty acids could reveal how cholesterol affects heart disease and stroke. His Nobel Lecture on 11 December 1964 was 'The pathway from "activated acetic acid" to the terpenes and fatty acids'.