Alfred G. Gilman
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1994
Born: 1 July 1941, New Haven, CT, USA
Died: 23 December 2015, Dallas, TX, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells."
Prize share: 1/2
In order for an organism to function, signals are conveyed within and between the body's various organs and cells through electrical currents and special molecules. Alfred Gilman and Martin Rodbell showed how the signal transfer through the cell wall happens. Around 1970 Martin Rodbell demonstrated that the signal transfer occurs in three steps - reception, transfer and reinforcement - and that guanosine triphosphate is a driving force in the transfer. In 1980 Alfred Gilman discovered that molecules involved in the transfer are a type of protein that reacts with GTP - G proteins.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.