NIH Nobel Prize Winners

1968--Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the key to deciphering the genetic code. Dr. Nirenberg and two other researchers, working independently, with whom he shared the prize, made major advances in understanding the chemical mechanisms by which genetic language or information is translated into various proteins that determine the nature and characteristics of all living things. Dr. Nirenberg was the first NIH Nobelist and also the first Federal employee to receive a Nobel Prize.

1970--Dr. Julius Axelrod, National Institute of Mental Health--shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two scientists from England and Sweden--for independent research into the chemistry of nerve transmission. The three were cited for their “discoveries concerning the humoral transmitters in the nerve terminals and the mechanisms for their storage, release and inactivation.” Specifically, Dr. Axelrod found an enzyme that terminates the action of the nerve transmitter, noradrenaline. He also demonstrated that some antidepressant drugs act by preventing the reuptake of noradrenaline and thus prolong its action in the brain.

1972--Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen-- formerly with the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases--won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work “on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation.” Dr. Anfinsen provided the first clue to the structure of ribonuclease by demonstrating that it is comprised of a single polypeptide chain. He and his colleagues at Rockefeller University (with whom he shared the prize) demonstrated that the information required to fold the polypeptide chain of ribonuclease into the specific three-dimensional form of the active enzyme resides in the sequence of amino acids. Therefore, it became clear that this protein could be synthesized in the laboratory by joining the proper amino acids in the correct order and then allowing the chain of amino acids to fold spontaneously. This led to the first synthesis of an enzyme from chemicals in the laboratory. Such studies are basic to an understanding of normal life processes as well as of inherited metabolic diseases.

1976--Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg, of the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia. They won the award for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases. Dr. Blumberg was at NIH (with the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases) in the 1960's, and did part of his prizewinning research at NIH.

1994--Dr. Martin Rodbell, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. G. Alfred Gilman of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Rodbell discovered in 1970 that signal transmission requires a cellular molecule called GTP. In 1977 Dr. Gillman identified the proteins to which GTP binds and named them “G proteins.” They are a family of proteins bound to the cell surface membranes that serve as intermediaries between incoming signals and cellular proteins that respond to these signals. Dr. Rodbell conducted this research while an intramural scientist with the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (now NIDDK).


Nobel Laureates

LaureateField YearSupporting Institute(s)
Edward B. Lewis, U.S.A. (shared with C. Nusslein-Volhard, Germany, and E.F. Wieschaus, U.S.A.) Physiology or medicine1995NICHD, NIGMS
Eric F. Wieschaus, U.S.A. (shared with E.B. Lewis, U.S.A., and C. Nusslein-Volhard, Germany)......do1995NICHD
Alfred G. Gilman, U.S.A. (shared with M. Rodbell, U.S.A.).....do1994NIGMS, NINDS
Martin Rodbell, U.S.A. (shared with A.G. Gilman, U.S.A.)......do1994NIEHS, NIDDK
George A. Olah, U.S.A.Chemistry1994NCI, NIGMS
Phillip A. Sharp, U.S.A. (shared with R. Roberts, U.K.)Physiology or medicine1993NIGMS, NCI, NIAID, DRS, NCRR
Richard Roberts, U.K. (shared with P.A. Sharp, U.S.A.)......do1993NCRR, NLM, NCHGR, NCI, NIGMS
Kary B. Mullis, U.S.A. (shared with M. Smith, Canada)Chemistry1993NHLBI, NIAID, NIGMS
Michael Smith, Canada (shared with K.B. Mullis, U.S.A.)......do1993NIGMS
Robert W. Fogel, U.S.A.Economics1993NIA
Edwin G. Krebs, U.S.A (shared with E.H. Fisher, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1992NIDDK, NIGMS, NIAMS
Edmond H. Fisher, U.S.A. (shared with E.G. Krebs, U.S.A.)......do1992NIDDK, NIGMS, NIAMS
Gary Becker, U.S.A.Economics1992NICHD
Elias J. Corey, U.S.A.Chemistry 1990NIGMS, NCRR, NCI, NHLBI, NIAID
E. Donnall Thomas, U.S.A. (shared with J.E. Murray, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1990NCI, NIAID, NIDDK
Joseph E. Murray, U.S.A. (shared with E.D. Thomas, U.S.A.)......do1990NHLBI, NIAID
Sidney Altman, U.S.A. (shared with T. Cech, U.S.A.)Chemistry1989NIGMS, NICHD
Thomas Cech, U.S.A. (shared with S. Altman, U.S.A.)......do1989NIGMS, NCI
J. Michael Bishop, U.S.A (shared with H.E. Varmus, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1989NCI
Harold E. Varmus, U.S.A. (shared with J.M. Bishop, U.S.A.).....do1989NCI, NIAID
Susumu Tonegawa, Japan......do1987NIAID
Donald J. Cram, U.S.A. (shared with C.J. Pederson, U.S.A., and Jean-Marie Lehn, France)Chemistry1987NIGMS
Stanley Cohen, U.S.A. (shared with R. Levi-Montalcini, U.S.A./Italy)Physiology or medicine1986NICHD, NIGMS
Rita Levi-Montalcini, U.S.A./Italy (shared with S. Cohen, U.S.A.)......do1986NIMH, NINDS
Herbert A. Hauptman, U.S.A. (shared with J. Karle, U.S.A.)Chemistry1985NIGMS, NIADDK, NHLBI, DRR
Michael S. Brown, U.S.A. (shared with J.L. Goldstein, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1985NHLBI, NIGMS, DRR
Joseph L. Goldstein, U.S.A. (shared with M.S. Brown, U.S.A.)......do1985NHLBI, NIGMS, DRR
R. Bruce Merrifield, U.S.A.Chemistry1984NIDDK
Henry Taube, U.S.A......do1983NIGMS
Sune Bergstrom, Sweden (shared with J. R. Vane, U.K. and B. Samuelsson, Sweden)Physiology or medicine1982NHLBI, NLM, NICHD
John R. Vane, U.K. (shared with S. Bergstrom and B. Samuelsson, Sweden)......do1982DRG, NIGMS, NIMH
Aaron Klug, U.K.Chemistry1982NIAID
Roald Hoffmann, U.S.A. (shared with K. Fukui, Japan)......do1981NIGMS
David H. Hubel, U.S.A. (shared with T. N. Wiesel, U.S.A./Sweden, and R. W. Sperry, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1981NEI, NIGMS, NINDS, DRR
Torsten N. Wiesel, U.S.A./Sweden (shared with D. H. Hubel and R. W. Sperry, U.S.A.) ......do1981NEI, DRR, NINDS
Paul Berg, U.S.A. (shared with W. Gilbert, U.S.A., and F. Sanger, U.K.)Chemistry1980NIGMS, NCI
Walter Gilbert, U.S.A. (shared with P. Berg, U.S.A., and F. Sanger, U.K.) .....do1980NIGMS, NIDDK
Baruj Benacerraf, U.S.A. (shared with G. D. Snell, U.S.A., and J. Dausset, France) Physiology or medicine1980NIAID, NCI
George D. Snell, U.S.A. (shared with B. Benacerraf, U.S.A., and J. Dausset, France) ......do1980NIAID, NCI
Jean Dausset, France (shared with B. Benacerraf and G. D. Snell, U.S.A.) ......do1980NIAID, NCI
Herbert C. Brown, U.S.A. (shared with G. Wittig, W. Germany)Chemistry1979NIGMS
Hamilton O. Smith, U.S.A. (shared with D. Nathans, U.S.A., and W. Arber, Switzerland) Physiology or medicine1978NIGMS, NIAID
Daniel Nathans, U.S.A. (shared with H. O. Smith, U.S.A., and W. Arber, Switzerland) ......do1978NIGMS, NCI
Roger C. L. Guillemin, U.S.A. (shared with A. V. Schally and R. S. Yalow, U.S.A.) ......do1977NIDDK, NICHD, DRR
Andrew V. Schally, U.S.A. (shared with R. C. L. Guillemin and R. S. Yalow, U.S.A.) ......do1977NIDDK, NICHD, NIGMS
D. Carleton Gajdusek,1 U.S.A. (shared with B. S. Blumberg, U.S.A.)......do1976NINDS
Baruch S. Blumberg, U.S.A. (shared with D. C. Gajdusek, U.S.A.)......do1976NHLBI, NCI
William N. Lipscomb, U.S.A.Chemistry1976NIGMS, DRG
David Baltimore, U.S.A. (shared with R. Dulbecco and H. M. Temin, U.S.A.) Physiology or medicine1975NIAID, NCI
Renato Dulbecco, U.S.A. (shared with D. Baltimore and H. M. Temin, U.S.A.) ......do1975NIAID, NCI
Howard M. Temin, U.S.A. (shared with D. Baltimore and R. Dulbecco, U.S.A.) ......do1975NCI
Albert Claude, Belgium (shared with C. de Duve, Belgium, and G. E. Palade, U.S.A.) ......do1974NCI
George E. Palade, U.S.A. (shared with C. de Duve and A. Claude, Belgium)......do1974NHLBI, NIGMS
Christian de Duve, Belgium (shared with A. Claude, Belgium, and G. E. Palade, U.S.A.) ......do1974NICHD, NIGMS, NHLBI, NIA
Gerald M. Edelman, U.S.A. (shared with R. R. Porter, U.K.)......do1972NIDDK, NIAID, NICHD
Rodney R. Porter, U.K. (shared with G. M. Edelman, U.S.A.)......do1972NIAID
Christian B. Anfinsen,1 U.S.A. (shared with S. Moore and W. H. Stein, U.S.A.) Chemistry1972NHLBI, NIDDK
Stanford Moore, U.S.A. (shared with C. B. Anfinsen and W. H. Stein, U.S.A.)......do1972NIGMS, NINDS
William H. Stein, U.S.A. (shared with C. B. Anfinsen and S. Moore, U.S.A.) ......do1972NIGMS
Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., U.S.APhysiology or medicine1971NIGMS, NHLBI, NIDDK
Julius Axelrod,1 U.S.A. (shared with B. Katz, U.K., and U. von Euler, Sweden)......do1970NHLBI, NIMH
Ulf von Euler, Sweden (shared with J. Axelrod, U.S.A., and B. Katz, U.K.) ......do1970NINDS
Luis Leloir, ArgentinaChemistry1970NIGMS, NIAID
Max Delbruck, U.S.A. (shared with A. D. Hershey and S. Luria, U.S.A.) Physiology or medicine1969NIGMS
Alfred D. Hershey, U.S.A. (shared with M. Delbruck and S. Luria, U.S.A.) ......do1969NIGMS, NCI, NICHD
Salvador Luria, U.S.A. (shared with M. Delbruck and A. D. Hershey, U.S.A.)......do1969NIAID, NIGMS, NCI
Robert W. Holley, U.S.A. (shared with H. G. Khorana and M. W. Nirenberg, U.S.A.) ......do1968NIGMS, NCI
H. Gobind Khorana, U.S.A. (shared with R. W. Holley and M. W. Nirenberg, U.S.A.)......do1968NIGMS, NCI, NIAID
Marshall W. Nirenberg,1 U.S.A. (shared with R. W. Holley and H. G. Khorana, U.S.A.) ......do1968NHLBI
Lars Onsager, U.S.A.Chemistry 1968NIGMS
Haldan K. Hartline, U.S.A. (shared with G. Wald, U.S.A., and R. Granit, Sweden) Physiology or medicine1967NINDS, NEI
George Wald, U.S.A. (shared with H. K. Hartline, U.S.A., and R. Granit, Sweden) ......do1967NINDS, NEI
Charles B. Huggins, U.S.A. (shared with P. Rous, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1966NCI, NIDDK, NIGMS
Jacques L. Monod, France (shared with F. Jacob and A. Lwoff, France)......do1965NIAID
Robert B. Woodward, U.S.A.Chemistry1965NIGMS, NHLBI, DRG, NIDDK
Konrad Bloch, U.S.A. (shared with F. Lynen, Germany)Physiology or medicine1964NIGMS, NHLBI, DRG
James D. Watson, U.S.A. (shared with F. H. C. Crick and M. H. F. Wilkins, U.K.)......do1962NIGMS, NIDDK, NCI, DRR, NIAID
John C. Kendrew, U.K. (shared with M. F. Perutz, U.K.)Chemistry1962NIDDK
Melvin Calvin, U.S.A.......do1961DRG, NCI
Peter B. Medawar, U.K. (shared with F. M. Burnet, Australia)Physiology or medicine1960NIAID
Arthur Kornberg, U.S.A. (shared with S. Ochoa, U.S.A.)......do1959NIGMS, NIAID, NCI, NIDDK, NIA
Severo Ochoa, U.S.A. (shared with A. Kornberg, U.S.A.)......do1959NIDDK, NIGMS, NCI, DRG
George W. Beadle, U.S.A. (shared with J. Lederberg and E. L. Tatum, U.S.A.)......do1958NIGMS, NHLBI
Joshua Lederberg, U.S.A. (shared with G. W. Beadle and E. L. Tatum, U.S.A.)......do1958NIGMS, NIAID, NINDS, NICHD, DRR, NCI
Edward L. Tatum, U.S.A. (shared with G. W. Beadle and J. Lederberg, U.S.A.)......do1958NIGMS, NCI
Dickinson W. Richards, Jr., U.S.A. (shared with A. Cournand, U.S.A., and W. Forssmann, Germany)......do1956NIDDK, NCI, NHLBI, NIGMS
Vincent du Vigneaud, U.S.A.Chemistry1955NHLBI, NCI, NIGMS, DRG
Thomas H. Weller, U.S.A. (shared with J. F. Enders and F. C. Robbins, U.S.A.)Physiology or medicine1954NIAID, NIGMS
Linus C. Pauling, U.S.A.Chemistry 1954NIGMS, NHLBI, DRG, NIAID, NCI
Fritz A. Lipmann, U.S.A. (shared with H. A. Krebs, U.K.)Physiology or medicine1953NIGMS, NCI
Philip S. Hench, U.S.A. (shared with E. C. Kendall, U.S.A., and T. Reichstein, Switzerland)......do1950DRG, NIGMS
E. O. Lawrence, U.S.A.Physics1939NCI
1Signifies NIH scientists.