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Nossal, Sir Gustav


NOSSAL, SIR GUSTAV (1931– ), Australian immunologist. He was born in Bad Ischl and emigrated to Australia with his family (1938) because of the Nazi threat. He earned his B.Sc. (1952) and medical degree (1954) from the University of Sydney and Ph.D. (1960) from the University of Melbourne. After clinical training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney (1955–56), he became Research Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne (1957–59) and then assistant professor in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. He returned to the Hall Institute as deputy director for immunology (1961–65), and became director of the institute and professor of medical biology at the University of Melbourne (1965–96). His research mainly centered on the immune cells which produce antibodies and started with the important original observation that each antibody producing cell only makes one kind of antibody. Subsequently he analyzed the way in which these cells respond to stimulation by antigens, their organization within the immune system, and the mechanisms which prevent antibody producing cells from attacking an individual's own tissues. The practical consequences of these discoveries include a better understanding of autoimmune diseases and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. He collaborated closely with Israeli immunologists including Dr. Ruth *Arnon. Sir Gustav played a major role in national and international organizations concerned with vaccination programs and education in health and science, including chairing the World Health Organization's Global Program for Vaccines and Immunization. He was especially concerned with training health workers working at the grass roots level. He was president of the International Union of Immunological Societies (1986–89) and of the Australian Academy of Science (1994–98). His leadership of many charitable organizations includes that of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. His many academic honors include election to the Royal Society of London and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science, the Rabbi Shai Schacknai Prize, and the Robert Koch Gold Medal. His many other honors include the cbe (1970), a knighthood (1977), the Companion of the Order of Australia (1989), and election as Australian of the Year (2000).

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]

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