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Joseph Murray
Born April 1, 1919 (1919-04-01) (age 90)
Milford, Massachusetts[1]
Residence Massachusetts
Nationality American
Fields surgeon
Known for kidney transplant
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1990

Joseph Edward Murray (born 1 April 1919) is a retired American plastic surgeon.[1] He performed the first successful human kidney transplant from an adult to his identical twin in 1954.

Murray won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1990 for work on organ and cell transplantation[2].



Murray was born the son of William A. Murray and Mary DePasquale and grew up in Milford, MA. He was a star athlete at the Milford High School. Murray excelled in football, ice hockey, baseball. Upon graduation, Murray attended the College of the Holy Cross and was prepared to play baseball. The baseball practices and medical labs were scheduled at the same time, so Murray was forced to give up baseball. Murray later attended Harvard Medical School. After graduating from medical school, Murray joined the US Army where he studied surgery at Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania.

In 2001, Murray published his autobiography, Surgery Of The Soul: Reflections on a Curious Career, which doubles as a story of 14 of his experiences and the struggles with them.


In December 1954, Murray performed the world's first successful renal transplant between the identical Herrick twins at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1959, he performed the world's first successful allograft and, in 1962, the world's first cadaveric renal transplant. Throughout the following years, Murray became an international leader in the study of transplantation biology, the use of immunosuppressive agents, and studies on the mechanisms of rejection. In the 1960s, the discovery of anti-rejection drugs such as azathioprine allowed Murray to carry out transplants from unrelated donors.

Murray served as chief plastic surgeon at Children's Hospital Boston from 1972-1985 and retired as professor of Surgery Emeritus in 1986 from Harvard Medical School.

Personal life

He married Virginia Link in 1945, with whom he has had three sons and three daughters. He enjoys tennis, biking and swimming.[1]


  • Joseph Murray (2001). Surgery of the Soul. Science History Publications. ISBN 0-88135-255-1.   (hardcover)
  1. ^ a b c Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. ISBN 1857432177.  
  2. ^ GUILD, W R; HARRISON, J H; MERRILL, J P; MURRAY, J, "Successful homotransplantation of the kidney in an identical twin.", Trans. Am. Clin. Climatol. Assoc. 67: 167–73, PMID :13360847,  

Camel Red

Murray is featured in the book Camel Red which is the story of Larry Heron, who was very seriously injured in World War II, and his road to recovery, on which he is reunited with Murray with whom he used to go to school.

  • Gregory David Page (2005). Camel Red. Lowell Books. ISBN 0--9760428-0-0.   (hardcover)

External links



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