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Vol. LXIII, No. 22
October 28, 2011

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Grantees Win 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Dr. Bruce Beutler (c) with colleagues Kevin Khovananth (l) and Yu Xia in the laboratory Kevin Khovananth 2011 Nobel prize winners funded by NIH include (clockwise, from above) Dr. Bruce Beutler

Dr. Bruce Beutler (c) with colleagues Kevin Khovananth (l) and Yu Xia in the laboratory

Photo: Scripps Research Institute/Michael Balderas

Dr. Jules Hoffman

Photo: CNRS/Pascal Disdier

Dr. Ralph Steinman, who died before word of the award reached him

Photo: Rockefeller University/Zach Veilleux

The 2011 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was won by NIH grantees Dr. Bruce Beutler of Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., and Dr. Jules Hoffmann of the University of Strasbourg for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, and the late Dr. Ralph Steinman of Rockefeller University for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

“The work of these three NIH-supported scientists has provided fundamental understanding of the body’s immune system and has been pivotal to the development of new vaccines against infectious diseases and treatments for cancer,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins.

NIH began supporting Beutler in 1984 and has provided almost $58 million in funding. His work has been supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. Hoffmann has received almost $7 million in support from NIAID since 1998. NIAID began supporting Steinman in 1976 and provided more than $49 million in support.

“NIAID has had the honor of supporting all three awardees,” said NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “Their elegant work has been—and will continue to be—extraordinary in its impact. It is rare that an investigator makes a discovery so important that it influences virtually every aspect of a scientific discipline. Their discoveries have opened up the possibility of harnessing the body’s own cells and immune processes to prevent infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, allergic diseases, cancer and rejection of organ transplants.” NIHRecord Icon

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