J. Robin Warren
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005
Born: 11 June 1937, Adelaide, Australia
Prize motivation: “for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease”
Prize share: 1/2
Robin Warren was born in Adelaide, Australia. Warren received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Adelaide in 1961. He worked at several hospitals before becoming a pathologist at Royal Perth Hospital in 1968, where he began collaborating with co-recipient Barry Marshall. Warren’s wife Winifred, used to read their papers and suggest ways of making their work more widely readable. Warren retired in 1999, after which he has spent time performing his hobby, photography.
Gastric ulcers are a common illness, but their cause was long unknown. It was discovered that the most common cause is bacterial infection. After Robin Warren discovered colonies of bacteria at gastric ulcer sites, he was contacted by his colleague Barry Marshall, who then successfully cultivated the previously unknown bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Warren and Marshall proved in 1982 that patients could only be cured if the bacteria were eliminated. This is now achieved by treatment by antibiotics, and gastric ulcers are no longer a chronic disease.