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Stanley B. Prusiner

Stanley Prusiner
BornMay 28 1942 (1942-05-28) (age 70)
Des Moines, Iowa, United States
ResidenceSan Francisco, United States
FieldNeurology, infectious disease
InstitutionsUniversity of California, San Francisco
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Known forPrions
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Notable prizes 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 solely composed of protein. For his prion research he received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1994 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997.

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.

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.


  • Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s Disease Research from the American Academy of Neurology (1991)
  • The Richard Lounsberry Award for Extraordinary Scientific Research in Biology and Medicine from the National Academy of Sciences (1993)
  • The Gairdner Foundation International Award (1993)
  • The Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1994)
  • The Paul Ehrlich Prize from the Federal Republic of Germany (1995)
  • The Wolf Prize in Medicine from the Wolf Foundation/State of Israel (1996)
  • The Keio International Award for Medical Science (1996)
  • The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University (1997)
  • The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1997)


  1. ^ a b c Stanley B. Prusiner - Autobiography. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  2. ^ "What really causes mad cow disease?", Wired, January 31 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. 
  • Prusiner S. B. (1982). "Novel proteinaceous infectious particles cause scrapie". Science 216: 136 - 144. doi:10.1126/science.6801762.
  • Prusiner S. B. (1991). "Molecular biology of prion diseases". Science 252: 515 - 1522. doi:10.1126/science.1675487.

NAME Prusiner, Stanley
SHORT DESCRIPTION Neurologist, biochemist
DATE OF BIRTH May 28, 1942
PLACE OF BIRTH Des Moines, Iowa, United States
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stanley_B._Prusiner". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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