Brown, Michael Stuart

views updated May 23 2018


BROWN, MICHAEL STUART (1941– ), U.S. medical geneticist and Nobel laureate. Brown was born in New York and received his B.A. in chemistry (1962) and his M.D. (1966) from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he met Joseph L. *Goldstein, who was to become his lifelong scientific collaborator. Between 1968 and 1971 Brown was a postdoctoral fellow, first with Dr. Earl Stadtman at the National Institutes of Health, then at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, and finally in the biochemistry laboratory of the National Heart Institute.

In 1971 Brown moved to Texas and joined the faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He became a professor in 1976 and in 1985 was appointed Regental Professor of the University of Texas.

Soon after his arrival in Dallas, Brown succeeded in solubilizing and partially purifying 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, a previously enigmatic enzyme that catalyzes the rate-controlling enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis. Formal scientific collaboration with Goldstein began in 1972, after Goldstein returned to Dallas from a postdoctoral fellowship in Seattle. The two discovered the low-density lipoprotein (ldl) receptor, which controls the level of cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disease in which excess cholesterol accumulates in blood and tissues because cells are not able to absorb low-density lipoprotein. The disorder leads to premature heart attacks in one out of every 500 people in most populations.

Brown and Goldstein received many awards for their work, most notably the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1985. In addition, Brown was awarded the Albert D. Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research (1985); the William Allan Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1985); the U.S. National Medal of Science (1988); and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2003).

Michael Brown was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1980. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society of Biological Chemists, and the American Society for Cell Biology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. From 1974 to 1977 he was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. He served on several review boards, including the Molecular Cytology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health (1974–77) and the editorial boards of the Journal of Lipid Research, the Journal of Cell Biology, Arteriosclerosis, and Science. He was a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the Jane Coffin Childs Fund from 1980. At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, he became Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics.


Lex prix Nobel 1985.

[Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)]

Brown, Michael

views updated May 14 2018

Brown, Michael (born 1941) American physician; Nobel Prize 1985, jointly with Goldstein, for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism.

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