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Doherty, Peter Charles

Peter Charles Doherty, 1940–, Australian immunologist, Ph.D., Univ. of Edinburgh, 1970. He was a research fellow at Australian National Univ. (1972–75), a professor at the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia (1975–82), and a professor at the Australian National Univ. (1982–88). In 1988 Doherty became chairman of the Dept. of Immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In the early 1970s, he and Rolf Zinkernagel discovered that for white blood cells (lymphocytes) to fight infection the cells have to recognize not only the "foreign" molecules of the virus but also certain "self" molecules known as histocompatibility antigens. Their work has had implications in medicine for the development of therapies to boost immune response against threats such as harmful microorganisms and cancer as well as in treatment of autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. In 1996 Doherty and Zinkernagel received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for elucidating how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells.

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