P&S Nobel Laureates
For years, College of Physicians and Surgeons alumni, faculty, and researchers have led groundbreaking clinical and basic scientific studies that have transformed our understanding of human biology and advanced the practice of medicine. On many occasions, this work has been honored with the Nobel Prize.
The scope of research led by P&S Nobel laureates is tremendous. Although most of our prizewinners were honored for work in physiology or medicine, a few also received the prize for chemistry. Their research has fundamentally shaped the course of numerous fields, including cardiology, neuroscience, genetics, pharmaceutical development, and more.
Our Nobel laureates include:
- André Cournand and Dickinson Richards (P&S’23), whose work at P&S on cardiac catheterization—a method of inserting a tiny tube into the heart—provided the basis for open-heart surgery and interventional cardiology
- Baruch Blumberg (P&S’51), who discovered the hepatitis B virus and helped develop a test and a vaccine for the virus
- Joshua Lederberg, a Columbia College and P&S graduate student who showed that bacteria can exchange genes when they reproduce, creating a way to model and study genetics in higher organisms
- Harold Varmus (P&S’66), who demonstrated how genes in normal human and animal cells can mutate to cause cancer, leading to a new generation of research on the genetic origins of cancer
- Eric Kandel, current University Professor, who showed how memories are stored in nerve cells, greatly enhancing the study of long- and short-term memory formation
- Richard Axel, current University Professor, who, with Linda Buck, a postdoctoral fellow in his Columbia lab, discovered how genes code for the odorant sensors in our nose, elucidating the human sense of smell, one of the most complex functions of the brain
- Robert Lefkowitz (P&S’66), whose research showed how an important group of receptors helps cells sense their environment, work that has driven an enormous field of pharmaceutical research and development
- Joachim Frank, current Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at CUMC, who shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jacques Dubochet and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy to determine the high-resolution structure of biomolecules in solution
Read our full list of P&S Nobel laureates in the PDF below.