Laureate Professor Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel for discovering the nature of the cellular immune defense. Based at the Doherty Institute, and also spending part of his year at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJCRH), Memphis, USA, he continues to be involved in research directed at understanding and preventing the severe consequences of influenza virus infection. In addition, he goes in to bat for evidence-based reality, relating to areas as diverse as childhood vaccination, global hunger and anthropogenic climate change. In an effort to communicate more broadly, he has published five “lay” books.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Peter also shared the Paul Ehrlich Prize (Germany), the Gairdner International Award (Canada), and the Lasker Award for Basic Science (USA) with Rolf Zinkernagel. Peter’s research has been supported by competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health in the US, the National Health and Medical Research Council and institutional funding at SJCRH and the Australian National University. Peter is a Fellow, or Foreign Associate, of the Australian, UK, US, and Russian Academies of Science, and the French, US, UK and Australian Academies of Medicine. He is also a Fellow of numerous professional societies, has been awarded more than 20 Honorary Doctorates and has published some 500 research papers and reviews. His h-index is 81. He was Australian of the Year and received a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997, is listed as a living National Treasure, had his face on a postage stamp, and has research fellowships, a street and two buildings (in Edinburgh and Melbourne) named after him.
Peter has been working consistently in the areas of T cell and viral immunology since the early 1970’s. His work focuses on cellular and molecular aspects of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. Peter’s studies provide insights into acquisition of effector functions by CD8+ T cells, immunodominance, persistence of memory CD8+ T cells and their subsequent recall.
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