Our Nobel Prize winners

1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Michael Brown, M.D.
Joseph Goldstein, M.D.

Drs. Brown and Goldstein personify the team dynamic at the heart of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s approach to research. They shared the 1985 Nobel Prize for their discovery of the underlying mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism. Their findings led to the development of statin drugs, the cholesterol-lowering compounds that today are used by 16 million Americans and are the most widely prescribed medications in the United States. And their discovery is improving more lives every year. New federal cholesterol guidelines will triple the number of Americans taking statin drugs to lower their cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke for countless people.

1988 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Johann Deisenhofer, Ph.D.

Dr. Deisenhofer’s Nobel-winning research used X-ray crystallography to elucidate for the first time the three-dimensional structure of a large membrane-bound protein molecule. This structure helped explain the process of photosynthesis, by which sunlight is converted to chemical energy. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prize, describes photosynthesis as the most important chemical reaction on earth. Dr. Deisenhofer’s ongoing work is helping UT Southwestern advance medical science at the molecular level, by determining the structures of proteins involved in disease.

1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Alfred Gilman, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Gilman’s Nobel-winning studies on “G proteins" discovered a major language that cells use to communicate, that is, how cells receive and respond to external stimuli, thus controlling the most fundamental processes in the human body. Like all of his fellow Nobel laureates at UT Southwestern, Dr. Gilman was less than 40 years old when he did the work for which he won the Nobel Prize. Great discoveries tend to come from young scientists. The former dean, executive vice president for academic affairs, provost, and dean of UT Southwestern Medical School continues to serve UT Southwestern as Regental Professor of Pharmacology.

2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Bruce A. Beutler, M.D.

Dr. Bruce Beutler, director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for their immune system investigations. Dr. Beutler was honored for the discovery of receptor proteins that recognize disease-causing agents and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body's immune response. The discovery triggered an explosion of research in innate immunity, opening up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.

Our Nobel laureates include (from left to right) Drs. Johann Deisenhofer, Alfred Gilman, Joseph Goldstein, and Michael Brown.