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Stanley Prusiner
File:Stanley B. Prusiner 2001.jpg
Born May 28, 1942 (1942-05-28) (age 67)
Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Residence San Francisco, United States
Nationality American
Fields Neurology, infectious disease
Institutions University of California, San Francisco
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Known for Prions
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1997)
Potamkin Prize (1991)
Lasker Award (1994)

Stanley Ben Prusiner (born May 28, 1942[1]) is an American neurologist and biochemist. Currently the director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prusiner discovered prions, a class of infectious self-reproducing pathogens primarily or solely composed of protein. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1994 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for his prion research.


Early life and career

Prusiner was born in Des Moines, Iowa and spent his childhood in Des Moines and Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended Walnut Hills High School. Prusiner received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and later received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.[1] Prusiner then completed an internship in medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Later Prusiner moved to the National Institutes of Health, where he studied glutaminases in E. coli in the laboratory of Earl Stadtman.

After three years at NIH, Prusiner returned to UCSF to complete a residency in neurology. Upon completion of the residency in 1974, Prusiner joined the faculty of the UCSF neurology department. Since that time, Prusiner has held various faculty and visiting faculty positions at both UCSF and UC Berkeley.

Nobel prize and academic societies

Prusiner won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for his work proposing an explanation for the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease") and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.[1] In this work, he coined the term prion, which comes from "proteinaceous infectious particle that lacks nucleic acid" to refer to a previously undescribed form of infection due to protein misfolding.[2]

Prusiner was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1992 and to its governing council in 2007. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993), the Royal Society (1996), the American Philosophical Society (1998), the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (2003), and the Institute of Medicine.



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