Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner

Dr. Prusiner has received numerous academic and scientific awards including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1997 for prion research developed by him and his team of experts.

Prusiner discovered an unprecedented class of pathogens that he named prions. Based on his seminal discovery that prions can assemble into amyloid fibrils, Prusiner proposed that the more common neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases may be caused by prions. Remarkably, a wealth of evidence continues to accumulate arguing that prions cause not only these common degenerative diseases, but also ALS, the frontotemporal dementias, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and multiple system atrophy. Much of Prusiner’s current research focuses on developing therapeutics that reduce the levels of the specific prions responsible for these conditions.

Prusiner is the author of over 500 scientific research and 300 review articles, and editor of 11 books on diseases caused by prions. Prusiner’s recently published single-author book Madness and Memory, which chronicles his discovery of prions, has received wide acclaim. He holds 50 issued or allowed United States patents, all of which are assigned to the University of California. He has delivered over 150 honorary and over 740 invited lectures.

He received his B.A. in Chemistry in 1964 and his M.D. in 1968 from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his military service as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health and his neurology residency training at UCSF, he joined the UCSF faculty in 1974 and set up a laboratory to study brain diseases.


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