The Nobel Prize for Medicine
Peter Doherty shares the 1996 Nobel Prize in Medicine with his ANU colleague Rolf Zinkernagel for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence.
They carried out revolutionary work in immunology together at the John Curtin School of Medical Research.
Whilst studying the response of mice to viruses, they found that white blood cells (lymphocytes) must recognize both the virus and certain self molecules - the so-called major histocompatibility antigens - to kill the virus-infected cells. This principle of simultaneous recognition of both self and foreign molecules has laid a foundation for the further understanding of the specificity of the cellular immune system.
Peter Doherty is currently Laureate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne and Chairman of the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.