Nobel Prize in Medicine: 1901-Present

illustration of microscope and blood cells
The Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded every year for more than a century. (Image credit: <a href="">Creations</a> |<a href="">Shutterstock</a>)

Physiology or medicine was the third prize area Alfred Nobel mentioned in his will laying out his wishes for the Nobel Prize.

Here are the winners from 1901 to today:

2022: Svante Pääbo, "for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution (opens in new tab)", according to the Nobel Prize organization.

2021: David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian, "for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch (opens in new tab)," according to the Nobel Prize organization.

2020: Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice, "for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus (opens in new tab)," according to the Nobel Prize organization.

2019: William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza, jointly "for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability (opens in new tab)," according to the Nobel Prize organization.

2018: James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, jointly, "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation (opens in new tab)," according to the Nobel Prize organization. Their discoveries involved two different proteins that put the brakes on a person's immune system. By figuring out how to release these brakes, the researchers were able to harness a person's own immune system to fight various types of cancer.

2017: Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young "for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm," according to 

2016: Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of autophagy (opens in new tab), or "self-eating," in yeast cells, revealing that human cells also partake in this odd cellular process, which has also been linked to diseases. 

2015: William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura were jointly for discovering a new treatment for infections caused by roundworm parasites. Youyou Tu was awarded the other half of the Nobel for discovering a drug to fight malaria. [Read more on the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine]

2014: John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and her husband Edvard I. Moser, "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain (opens in new tab)."

2013: James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof, for their work in revealing how cells control the delivery and release of molecules (opens in new tab) — such as hormones, proteins and neurotransmitters.

2012: Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, for their groundbreaking work on stem cells (opens in new tab).

2011: Bruce A. Beutler of the United States, Jules A. Hoffmann, born in Luxembourg, and Dr. Ralph M. Steinman, of Canada, won the prize of $1.5 million (10 million kronor). Steinman was awarded half the prize and Beutler and Hoffmann shared the other half. [Read: Immune System Researchers Win Nobel Prize in Medicine]

2010: Robert G. Edwards, "for the development of in vitro fertilization."

2009: Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, Jack W. Szostak, "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

2008: Harald zur Hausen, "for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer" and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier, "for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus."

2007: Mario R. Capecchi, Sir Martin J. Evans, Oliver Smithies, "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells."

2006: Andrew Z. Fire, Craig C. Mello, "for their discovery of RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA."

2005: Barry J. Marshall, J. Robin Warren, "for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease."

2004: Richard Axel, Linda B. Buck, "for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system."

2003: Paul C. Lauterbur, Sir Peter Mansfield, "for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging."

2002: Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, John E. Sulston, "for their discoveries concerning 'genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

2001: Leland H. Hartwell, Tim Hunt, Sir Paul M. Nurse, "for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle."

2000: Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard, Eric R. Kandel, "for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system."

1999: Günter Blobel, "for the discovery that proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell."

1998: Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, Ferid Murad, "for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system."

1997: Stanley B. Prusiner, "for his discovery of Prions - a new biological principle of infection."

1996: Peter C. Doherty, Rolf M. Zinkernagel, "for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defense."

1995: Edward B. Lewis, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric F. Wieschaus, "for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development."

1994: Alfred G. Gilman, Martin Rodbell, "for their discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells."

1993: Richard J. Roberts, Phillip A. Sharp, "for their discoveries of split genes."

1992: Edmond H. Fischer, Edwin G. Krebs, "for their discoveries concerning reversible protein phosphorylation as a biological regulatory mechanism."

1991: Erwin Neher, Bert Sakmann, "for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells."

1990: Joseph E. Murray, E. Donnall Thomas, "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease."

1989: J. Michael Bishop, Harold E. Varmus, "for their discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes."

1988: Sir James W. Black, Gertrude B. Elion, George H. Hitchings, "for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment."

1987: Susumu Tonegawa, "for his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity."

1986: Stanley Cohen, Rita Levi-Montalcini, "for their discoveries of growth factors."

1985: Michael S. Brown, Joseph L. Goldstein, "for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism."

1984: Niels K. Jerne, Georges J.F. Köhler, César Milstein, "for theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies."

1983: Barbara McClintock, "for her discovery of mobile genetic elements."

1982: Sune K. Bergström, Bengt I. Samuelsson, John R. Vane, "for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related biologically active substances."

1981: Roger W. Sperry, "for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres"  and David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel, "for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system."

1980: Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, George D. Snell, "for their discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions."

1979: Allan M. Cormack, Godfrey N. Hounsfield, "for the development of computer assisted tomography."

1978: Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans, Hamilton O. Smith, "for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to problems of molecular genetics."

1977: Roger Guillemin and Andrew V. Schally, "for their discoveries concerning the peptide hormone production of the brain" and Rosalyn Yalow, "for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones."

1976: Baruch S. Blumberg, D. Carleton Gajdusek, "for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases."

1975: David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco, Howard Martin Temin, "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell."

1974: Albert Claude, Christian de Duve, George E. Palade, "for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell."

1973: Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz, Nikolaas Tinbergen, "for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns."

1972: Gerald M. Edelman, Rodney R. Porter, "for their discoveries concerning the chemical structure of antibodies."

1971: Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., "for his discoveries concerning the mechanisms of the action of hormones."

1970: Sir Bernard Katz, Ulf von Euler, Julius Axelrod, "for their discoveries concerning the humoral transmittors in the nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release and inactivation."

1969: Max Delbrück, Alfred D. Hershey, Salvador E. Luria, "for their discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses."

1968: Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khorana, Marshall W. Nirenberg, "for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis."

1967: Ragnar Granit, Haldan Keffer Hartline, George Wald, "for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye."

1966: Peyton Rous, "for his discovery of tumour-inducing viruses" and Charles Brenton Huggins, "for his discoveries concerning hormonal treatment of prostatic cancer."

1965: François Jacob, André Lwoff, Jacques Monod, "for their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis."

1964: Konrad Bloch, Feodor Lynen, "for their discoveries concerning the mechanism and regulation of the cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism."

1963: Sir John Carew Eccles, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, Andrew Fielding Huxley, "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane."

1962: Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson, Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material."

1961: Georg von Békésy, "for his discoveries of the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea."

1960: Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Peter Brian Medawar, "for discovery of acquired immunological tolerance."

1959: Severo Ochoa, Arthur Kornberg, "for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid."

1958: George Wells Beadle and Edward Lawrie Tatum, "for their discovery that genes act by regulating definite chemical events" and Joshua Lederberg, "for his discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria."

1957: Daniel Bovet, "for his discoveries relating to synthetic compounds that inhibit the action of certain body substances, and especially their action on the vascular system and the skeletal muscles."

1956: André Frédéric Cournand, Werner Forssmann, Dickinson W. Richards, "for their discoveries concerning heart catheterization and pathological changes in the circulatory system."

1955: Axel Hugo Theodor Theorell, "for his discoveries concerning the nature and mode of action of oxidation enzymes."

1954: John Franklin Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, Frederick Chapman Robbins, "for their discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue."

1953: Hans Adolf Krebs, "for his discovery of the citric acid cycle" and Fritz Albert Lipmann "for his discovery of co-enzyme A and its importance for intermediary metabolism."

1952: Selman Abraham Waksman, "for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis."

1951: Max Theiler, "for his discoveries concerning yellow fever and how to combat it."

1950: Edward Calvin Kendall, Tadeus Reichstein, Philip Showalter Hench, "for their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects."

1949: Walter Rudolf Hess, "for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs" and Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz, "for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses."

1948: Paul Hermann Müller, "for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods."

1947: Carl Ferdinand Cori and Gerty Theresa Cori, née Radnitz, "for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen" and Bernardo Alberto Houssay, "for his discovery of the part played by the hormone of the anterior pituitary lobe in the metabolism of sugar."

1946: Hermann Joseph Muller, "for the discovery of the production of mutations by means of X-ray irradiation."

1945: Sir Alexander Fleming, Ernst Boris Chain, Sir Howard Walter Florey, "for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases."

1944: Joseph Erlanger, Herbert Spencer Gasser, "for their discoveries relating to the highly differentiated functions of single nerve fibers."

1943: Henrik Carl Peter Dam, Edward Adelbert Doisy, "for his discovery of vitamin K" and Edward Adelbert Doisy"for his discovery of the chemical nature of vitamin K."

1942: No Nobel Prize awarded

1941: No Nobel Prize awarded

1940: No Nobel Prize awarded

1939: Gerhard Domagk, "for the discovery of the antibacterial effects of prontosil."

1938: Corneille Jean François Heymans, "for the discovery of the role played by the sinus and aortic mechanisms in the regulation of respiration."

1937: Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrápolt, "for his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion processes, with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid."

1936: Sir Henry Hallett Dale, Otto Loewi, "for their discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses."

1935: Hans Spemann, "for his discovery of the organizer effect in embryonic development."

1934: George Hoyt Whipple, George Richards Minot, William Parry Murphy, "for their discoveries concerning liver therapy in cases of anemia."

1933: Thomas Hunt Morgan, "for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity."

1932: Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, Edgar Douglas Adrian, "for their discoveries regarding the functions of neurons."

1931: Otto Heinrich Warburg, "for his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme."

1930: Karl Landsteiner, "for his discovery of human blood groups."

1929: Christiaan Eijkman, "for his discovery of the antineuritic vitamin" and Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, "for his discovery of the growth-stimulating vitamins."

1928: Charles Jules Henri Nicolle, "for his work on typhus."

1927: Julius Wagner-Jauregg, "for his discovery of the therapeutic value of malaria inoculation in the treatment of dementia paralytica."

1926: Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger, "for his discovery of the Spiroptera carcinoma."

1925: No Nobel Prize awarded

1924: Willem Einthoven, "for his discovery of the mechanism of the electrocardiogram."

1923: Frederick Grant Banting, John James Rickard Macleod, "for the discovery of insulin."

1922: Archibald Vivian Hill, "for his discovery relating to the production of heat in the muscle" and Otto Fritz Meyerhof, "for his discovery of the fixed relationship between the consumption of oxygen and the metabolism of lactic acid in the muscle."

1921: No Nobel Prize awarded

1920: Schack August Steenberg Krogh, "for his discovery of the capillary motor regulating mechanism."

1919: Jules Bordet, "for his discoveries relating to immunity."

1918: No Nobel Prize awarded

1917: No Nobel Prize awarded

1916: No Nobel Prize awarded

1915: No Nobel Prize awarded

1914: Robert Bárány, "for his work on the physiology and pathology of the vestibular apparatus."

1913: Charles Robert Richet, "in recognition of his work on anaphylaxis."

1912: Alexis Carrel, "in recognition of his work on vascular suture and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs."

1911: Allvar Gullstrand, "for his work on the dioptrics of the eye."

1910: Albrecht Kossel, "in recognition of the contributions to our knowledge of cell chemistry made through his work on proteins, including the nucleic substances."

1909: Emil Theodor Kocher, "for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid gland."

1908: Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, Paul Ehrlich, "in recognition of their work on immunity."

1907: Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran, "in recognition of his work on the role played by protozoa in causing diseases."

1906: Camillo Golgi, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, "in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system."

1905: Robert Koch, "for his investigations and discoveries in relation to tuberculosis."

1904: Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, "in recognition of his work on the physiology of digestion, through which knowledge on vital aspects of the subject has been transformed and enlarged."

1903: Niels Ryberg Finsen, "in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science."

1902: Ronald Ross, "for his work on malaria, by which he has shown how it enters the organism and thereby has laid the foundation for successful research on this disease and methods of combating it."

1901: Emil Adolf von Behring, "for his work on serum therapy, especially its application against diphtheria, by which he has opened a new road in the domain of medical science and thereby placed in the hands of the physician a victorious weapon against illness and deaths."

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