Peter C. Doherty

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Peter Doherty
Born 15 October 1940 (1940-10-15) (age 73)
Brisbane (Queensland)
Nationality Australian
Fields Medicine
Immunology
Institutions John Curtin School of Medical Research
Alma mater University of Queensland
University of Edinburgh
Known for major histocompatibility complex
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996.

Peter Charles Doherty AC (born 15 October 1940) is an Australian veterinary surgeon and researcher in the field of medicine. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1995, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel in 1996 and was named Australian of the Year in 1997.[1] In the Australia Day Honours of 1997, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his work with Zinkernagel.[2] Zinkernagel was named an honorary Companion. He is also a National Trust Australian Living Treasure. He had a younger brother named Ian and had two parents named Linda and Eric. He skipped a grade in school and entered the University of Queensland when he was 17.

Research[edit]

Doherty's research focuses on the immune system and his Nobel work described how the body's immune cells protect against viruses. He and Rolf Zinkernagel, the co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discovered how T cells recognize their target antigens in combination with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins.[citation needed]

Viruses infect host cells and reproduce inside them. Killer T-cells destroy those infected cells so that the viruses cannot reproduce. Zinkernagel and Doherty discovered that, in order for killer T cells to recognize infected cells, they had to recognize two molecules on the surface of the cell – not only the virus antigen, but also a molecule of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This recognition was done by a T-cell receptor on the surface of the T cell. The MHC was previously identified as being responsible for the rejection of incompatible tissues during transplantation. Zinkernagel and Doherty discovered that the MHC was responsible for the body fighting meningitis viruses too.[3]

Life[edit]

Doherty was born in Brisbane, Queensland, where he attended Indooroopilly State High School. He received his bachelor's degree in veterinary science in 1962 and his master's degree in veterinary science in 1966 from the University of Queensland. After obtaining his PhD in 1970 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, he returned to Australia to perform his Nobel Prize-winning research at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra. Doherty currently spends three months of the year conducting research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he is a faculty member at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center through the College of Medicine.[4] For the other 9 months of the year he works in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, Victoria. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987.[5]

Professor Doherty is the patron of the eponymous Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. It houses a group of infection and immunology experts who are charged with leading the battle against infectious diseases in humans. This became operational in 2014. [6]

Writings[edit]

His semi-autobiographical book, The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize, was published by The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing Ltd, Melbourne in 2005. A Light History of Hot Air was published in 2007 by Melbourne University Press. His latest book, published in 2012, is titled Sentinel Chickens.[7]

Both John Monash Science School and Moreton Bay Boys College have a house named after him.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Dr. John Yu
Australian of the Year Award
1997
Succeeded by
Cathy Freeman