Peter C. Doherty


Peter C. Doherty

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Peter C. Doherty
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996

Born: 15 October 1940, Brisbane, Australia

Affiliation at the time of the award: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA

Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence”

Prize share: 1/2


When the body's cells are attacked by viruses, the immune system begins killing the infected cells. By studying mice, Peter Doherty and Rolf Zinkernagel proved in 1973 how the immune system recognizes virus-ridden cells. A kind of white blood cell, T-cells, kills the virus-ridden cells, but only if they recognize both the foreign substances, viruses, and certain substances from the body's own cells. The discovery has provided an important basis for vaccines and medicines for infectious diseases, but also for inflammatory diseases and cancer.

To cite this section
MLA style: Peter C. Doherty – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Wed. 7 Jun 2023. <>

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

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Fourteen laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2022, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from paleogenomics and click chemistry to documenting war crimes.

See them all presented here.
Nobel Prizes 2022

Explore prizes and laureates

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