nobel medicine prize

Gertrude B. Elion (1918-1999) was one of the recipients of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Throughout her career she developed a variety of new drugs, including the AIDS treatment AZT, as well as azathioprine, the first immunosuppressive drug.

Because of gender bias, she found it very difficult to obtain work despite two degrees in chemistry, and began as a food quality supervisor for supermarkets. Eventually she obtained a research position with a pharmaceutical company in New York, and went on to collaborate with the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization.

In 1949 the Portuguese neurologist Antônio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine with the Swiss physiologist Walter Hess. At the 1935 International Neurological Conference in London, Moniz encountered the work of Fulton and Jacobsen who had observed behavioural changes in chimpanzees following removal of the frontal lobes. Together with Almeida Lima, Moniz initially adapted the technique for humans by drilling holes in the skull and injecting alcohol into the frontal lobes. The procedure of parietal prefrontal leucotomy was later developed, involving severing fibre tracts between the thalamus and the frontal lobes with a retractable wire loop or ‘leucotome’. The American psychiatrist Walter Freeman further developed this by accessing the frontal lobes through the eye sockets (trans-orbital leucotomy or lobotomy). The procedure was eventually abandoned as a therapy for schizophrenia with the advent of the phenothiazines. Dr Egas Moniz became an invalid and retired (1945) after he was shot in the spine by one of his patients. He died in Lisbon in 1955.

Linda B. Buck (b. 1947) is the recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, for her work on olfactory receptors. She has significantly added to the understanding of how odours are detected in the nose and transposed into information in the brain.

After obtaining a PhD in immunology, she became an assistant professor in neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School, and established her own research lab. She has been awarded numerous international prizes for her groundbreaking discoveries in relation to the olfactory system.


These chemists just won the Nobel Prize with tiny machines

Good things come in small packages; prestigious things come in microscopic ones. On Wednesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that three European chemists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for creating the “world’s smallest machines.” The creators eventually see the tiny machines entering the human blood-stream for a medical purpose.

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Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012) was an Italian neurologist who in 1986 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). She also served as Senator for Life in the Italian Senate from 2001 until her death at 103.

She studied medicine at the University of Turin and remained there as an assistant after graduation, but lost her position when in 1938 Jews were barred from holding academic posts. Nevertheless she set up a laboratory in her bedroom, and the research conducted there set the basis for her groundbreaking discoveries. Over the years her work led to the creation of new anti-inflammatory drugs and a greater understanding of how cancer spreads and evolves.

On This Day in History: July 19th

1921 - Rosalyn Sussman Yalow born.

Rosalyn Yalow was one of the nation’s premier medical physicists, the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine (1977) and the first woman to win the Lasker Prize (1976). Yalow’s Lasker Prize and Nobel Prize were awarded for one of the century’s most significant scientific discoveries. Working in radioisotopes, she and her colleague, Dr. Solomon Berson, refined a new approach – called radioimmunoassay (RIA) – using radioisotopes to analyze physiological systems. The technique used radioisotopes to “tag” certain hormones or proteins, making detailed measurements possible of previously undetected concentrations of hormones. RIA opened many doors in the study of disease and chemical responses. Rosalyn Yalow, wife and mother of two children, believed women could balance career and family life. On receiving her Nobel Prize, Yalow spoke about women in science careers: “We must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us…we must feel a personal responsibility to ease the path for those who come after us. The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems that beset us.”

10 Amazing Latin@s in STEM

Luis Federico Leloir (born 1906. Paris, France)

Argentine biochemist received Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of metabolic pathways in lactose.

Jacinto Convit Garcia (born 1913. Caracas, Venezuela)

A Venezuelan physician, he developed a vaccine to fight leprosy and conducted studies to cure different types of cancer. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1988.

Ellen Ochoa (born 1958. Los Angeles, CA)

Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She is also an inventor and pioneer of spacecraft technology.

Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez (born 1942. Guantanamo, Cuba)

Member of the Soyuz 38 Crew. Became the first Cuban and first Latin American in space in 1980.

Helen Rodriguez Trias (born 1929, NYC)

Puerto Rican-American pediatrician. Became first Latina president of the American Public Health Association. Helped expand the range of public heath services for women and children in minority and low income groups. 

Jose Hernandez (born 1962. French Camp, CA)

Mexican-American engineer and NASA astronaut. Helped develop a digital mammography imaging system. First person to tweet in spanish from space. (also a UCSB graduate, go gauchos!)

Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena (born 1917, Guadalajara)

Mexican electrical engineer and inventor of early color television transmission system. Brought color television to Mexico. A television system similar to his was used by NASA in 1979 aboard Voyager to take pictures of Jupiter.

Nitza Margarita Cintron (born 1950. San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Puerto Rican scientist and chief of space medicine and health care systems at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Served as project scientist for Space Lab 2 mission in the 1980s

Mario J Molina (born 1943. Mexico City)

Currently a professor at UCSD , he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995 for his role in the discovery of the threat to the Earth’s ozone from chlorofluorocarbon gasses (CFCs).

Martha E. Bernal (born 1931. San Antonio)

Mexican-American psychologist and first Latina to receive a psychology PhD in the United States. Promoted diversity in the field of psychology.

Random Mysterious Benedict Society Headcanons
  • Demisexual Reynie
  • Reynie going to law school, but is the type of lawyer that works for people who can’t afford legal coverage and also on adoption and child protective cases (because no one knows better than he what love can mean for a child)
  • Bisexual Kate
  • Kate and Reynie being the cutest couple ever that just support the hell out of each other
  • Kate spontaneously adopting a dog when she learns he wasn’t adopted after an adoption event
  • Kate having a bomb instagram (with a ton of followers) filled with pics of her adventures, her dog, and her handsome boyfriend
  • Them not getting engaged for years because it never came up and they were basically married already
  • Sticky winning the nobel prize for medicine for his research in helping to treat mental illnesses
  • Asexual homoromantic Sticky
  • Sticky adopting kids with his husband
  • Constance being That Aunt ™ and just travels the world 
  • The four of them found a school for gifted kids from around the world that gives them an open environment to learn and grow (The Nicholas Benedict School for Gifted Children)
  • Them being besties forever

Gerty Cori (1896-1957) was the 1947 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which she was awarded for her discovery of the mechanism by which glycogen is broken own into lactic acid in muscle tissue and stored as a source of energy. This made her the first woman to win the prize in this specific category, and only the third to win a Nobel Prize in science.

She attended and graduated from medical school in her native city of Prague, and later moved to New York, where she started a career in research and became a US citizen. She became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1953.

We’re one step closer to an edible fountain of youth, thanks to Nobel Prize-winner

On Oct. 3, 71-year-old Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi earned the Nobel prize in medicine for his groundbreaking work on autophagy, the body’s ability to recycle components of the cell and thus stave off age-related diseases. There are four common foods that could help.

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NEWSHOUR SCIENCE: Why this Japanese scientist won a 2016 Nobel Prize in medicine for cell ‘self-eating’

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for his discoveries on a process whereby cells essentially eat themselves. The process is called autophagy, and though it’s essential for your health, your high school biology teacher may have skipped a lesson on autophagy due to its complexity.

Think of autophagy as a cell’s internal spa or recycling plant. Cells use autophagy for self-renewal.

When our cells are starved or otherwise stressed, they don’t immediately shut down. Instead, they employ autophagy to cannibalize their own components.

Read more

Tu Youyou (b. 1930) is a Chinese scientist, and the Nobel Prize winner for 2015 in Physiology or Medicine. She therefore became the first Chinese citizen to be awarded the prize in natural sciences, and the first Chinese person to receive the Lasker Award.

Throughout her career she researched Chinese herbs for their medicinal properties, and discovered an effective cure for malaria from sweet wormwood extract. The discovery is hailed as one of the most important in modern history, and has saved millions of lives since the early 1970s.



Winner of a 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine, biochemist Gertrude Elion and her team made countless contributions to the medical field, developing drugs to fight against leukemia, gout, malaria, herpes and meningitis. She discovered an immuno-suppressive agent that would aid in kidney transplants between unrelated donors by reducing the body’s rejection of foreign tissue, and on top of all that, she oversaw research that led to the development of AZT, the first drug used for AIDS treatments.

Youyou Tu is one of three scientists to win the Nobel Prize in medicine. The 12th woman to receive the award, she was recognized for her discoveries around a new malaria treatment – based in centuries-old Chinese medicine.

Artemisinin, when used in combination therapy, is estimated to reduce mortality from malaria by more than 20 percent over all, and by more than 30 percent in children. In Africa alone, it saves more than 100,000 lives each year.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine has been jointly awarded this year: half of the award goes to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura, and the other half of the award goes to Youyou Tu. 

Campbell and Ōmura led a team that developed a drug called Avermectin that treats roundworm parasitic diseases, most notably River Blindness and Elephantiasis. Tu developed an herbal medicine for malaria, which has changed the way the world treats the disease. 

The distribution of these parasitic diseases are shown in blue in the image above–their distributions are strikingly similar worldwide. These three scientists have revolutionized the way we treat the diseases, and now share an award for their incredible achievements!

You can read more from the announcement here

Stay tuned for more details and fun facts about this tomorrow!