Renato Dulbecco


Renato Dulbecco

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Renato Dulbecco
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1975

Born: 22 February 1914, Catanzaro, Italy

Died: 19 February 2012, La Jolla, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratory, London, United Kingdom

Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell”

Prize share: 1/3


In 1910, Peyton Rous demonstrated that certain viruses can cause cancer, although it would be some time before the processes behind this were understood. Renato Dulbecco and his colleagues proved during the 1950s that genetic material from the virus is incorporated into the host organism's genes. The genes of the infected cells, which were partly constructed by the virus, could cause abnormal growth within the organism. Dulbecco's studies concentrated on tumor viruses with DNA as the genetic material, but ultimately also proved to be fundamental to the discovery related to viruses with RNA as the genetic material.

To cite this section
MLA style: Renato Dulbecco – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Fri. 22 Sep 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Coming up

This year’s Nobel Prize announcements will take place 2–9 October. All announcements will be streamed live here on

See the full schedule
Announcement dates

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.