Beutler Receives Nobel Prize

Dr. Bruce A. Beutler, professor and director of UT Southwestern’s new Center for the Genetics of Host Defense, accepts the Nobel Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Dec. 10, 2011 in Stockholm.
Copyright: The Nobel Foundation Photo: Lina Göransson

Dr. Bruce A. Beutler (center) came home to UT Southwestern Medical Center on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, returning from Sweden with his Nobel Prize to the campus where he conducted his pioneering research into the body’s innate immune response. “It says something about UT Southwestern that Bruce joins the ranks as our fifth member of the faculty to receive this highest honor,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky (right), President of UT Southwestern. “This institution has a commitment to excellence across our mission of research, education, and patient care.” At left is Dr. Greg Fitz, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School.

At the celebration at the campus’ Tom and Lula Gooch Auditorium, Dr. Beutler reunited with three of UT Southwestern’s four other Nobel Prize winners: Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Joseph Goldstein, and Dr. Alfred Gilman. Dr. Beutler acknowledged he was still getting used to referring to the group as “my fellow Laureates.” Joked Dr. Fitz: “Just a week ago when last I saw Bruce, he was resplendent in tuxedo, tails, white tie, patent leather shoes—and he was in the company of the king and the queen in a grand hall. He returns here to Texas, and we give him a T-shirt.”

Dr. Beutler, the final speaker, assured the campus he would continue to “be industrious” and joked about a story in the Swedish media that mentioned his homesickness for Texas and desire to return to his laboratory. He shared anecdotes from his whirlwind trip to Stockholm to accept his prize, expressing his worry over meeting Swedish royalty, using the proper cutlery, and his wonderment at joining the ranks of the elite scientific minds of recent history. “I saw my name juxtaposed with all the scientific greats of the last century,” Dr. Beutler said. “It is still a little bit hard for me to believe.”

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Copyright: The Nobel Foundation Photo: Frida Westholm