Hoffmann, recipient of 2010 Rosenstiel Award, wins 2011 Nobel

This year's Nobel Laureates for physiology of medicine have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation. One of the winners, Jules Hoffmann, was bestowed the 2010 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science. 

Hoffmann made his pioneering discovery in 1996, when he and his co-workers investigated how fruit flies combat infections. They had access to flies with mutations in several different genes including Toll, a gene previously found to be involved in embryonal development by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (Nobel Prize 1995). When Hoffmann infected his fruit flies with bacteria or fungi, he discovered that Toll mutants died because they could not mount an effective defense. He was also able to conclude that the product of the Toll gene was involved in sensing pathogenic microorganisms and Toll activation was needed for successful defense against them.

The Rosenstiel Award was established in 1971 to highlight the important role educational institutions play in encouraging and developing basic science as it applies to medicine. Awards are presented annually to scientists who have made discoveries of particular originality and importance to basic medical research. Winners are selected by a panel of scientists assembled by the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis. Over the decades, more than two dozen Rosenstiel winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

Since the Rosenstiel Center was established in 1968, Brandeis has placed great emphasis on basic science and its relationship to medicine. The Rosenstiel Awards are viewed as a means of extending the center's support beyond the campus community.

Categories: Research, Science and Technology

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