D. Carleton Gajdusek

Facts

D. Carleton Gajdusek

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

D. Carleton Gajdusek
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1976

Born: 9 September 1923, Yonkers, NY, USA

Died: 12 December 2008, Tromsø, Norway

Affiliation at the time of the award: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases”

Prize share: 1/2

Work

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and related illnesses among people and animals involves the degeneration of brain cells. Carleton Gajdusek studied kuru, a rare disease, among the Fore people of New Guinea. Gadjusek arrived at the conclusion that kuru was spread through the ritualistic eating of deceased relatives. He succeeded in transmitting the infection to chimpanzees in the 1960s. The long period, often several years, between exposure to the infection and contraction of the disease indicated that it involved a previously unknown type of infectious agent.

To cite this section
MLA style: D. Carleton Gajdusek – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Mon. 4 Mar 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1976/gajdusek/facts/>

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

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.
Illustration

Explore prizes and laureates

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