Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Michael S. Brown
Born: 13 April 1941, New York, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism."
Prize share: 1/2
Cholesterol is an important component in the body's cells and plays an important role in several biochemical processes. Too much cholesterol in the blood can cause problems, however, by forming strictures in blood vessels. In 1973 Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein discovered the receptor, or receiver, in cells that takes in cholesterol and clarified how the conversion of cholesterol is regulated by our genes and other substances. The discoveries became the basis for statins, medications that reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.