Stanley B. Prusiner Biography
(Neurologist and Biochemist)
Birthday: May 28, 1942 (Gemini)
Born In: Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Stanley B. Prusiner is an American neurologist and biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for his prion research. He coined the term prion, which comes from the words "proteinaceous" and "infectious” to refer to a class of infectious self-reproducing pathogens primarily or solely composed of protein. The son of an architect, he had a comfortable upbringing, typical of American boys hailing from well-to-do families. Intelligent and interested in scientific pursuits from a young age, he was referred to as the little Genius for developing a bug repellent as a school boy. He earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and later received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He spent a few years in biochemical research before becoming a professor of neurology and biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, from where he had completed his internship. Over the course of his research, he began studying a particular class of neurodegenerative disorders—the spongiform encephalopathies—that caused progressive dementia and death in humans and animals. This work eventually led to the groundbreaking findings that earned him the Nobel Prize. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he is also the recipient of several other prestigious awards in science fields.