Rolf M. Zinkernagel Biography
Birthday: January 6, 1944 (Capricorn)
Born In: Riehen, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland
Rolf Martin Zinkernagel is an eminent Swiss immunologist, who along with Peter C. Doherty, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 "for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence". After receiving his degree in medicine, Zinkernagel first wanted to work among leprosy patients in Africa, but was refused. Next, he tried his hand at surgery at local hospital; but soon realized he was not cut out for such a job. So, he entered University of Basel to earn his M.D and then joined University of Lausanne for post-doctoral work. While working at Lausanne, he developed an interest in immunology and wanted to carry on further research on this subject. Finally he received such a scope at the Australian National University and set out for Canberra. There, working with Peter Doherty, he discovered how T-cells recognize virus-infected host cells and destroy them. Their work also threw light on the function of the major histocompatibility complex. Around two decades later, they received the Nobel Prize for this work. Zinkernagel spent the last years of his working life at the University of Zurich, continuing to work on immune protection and immune-pathology. Finally he retired on 2008; but continues to work in other capacities, trying to further biomedical research in Europe, especially Switzerland.