© The Nobel Foundation Photo: U. Montan
Bruce A. Beutler
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011
Born: 29 December 1957, Chicago, IL, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity."
Prize share: 1/4
Bruce Beutler was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in California. His mother was a journalist and his father a geneticist. After having studied to become a medical doctor at the University of Chicago, he conducted his Nobel Prize-awarded work at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in the 1990s. He later returned to the center after having worked at Rockefeller University in New York, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Bruce Beutler was formerly married and has three children.
When bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms attack our bodies, our immune system goes to work. It has two lines of defence, the innate immunity and the adaptive immunity. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffman have contributed to our understanding of how so-called receptors detect microorganisms and activate our innate immunity. In 1998, by studying mice with mutations, Bruce Beutler found a gene which is active in the development of a receptor which binds lipopolysaccharide, a substance produced by several pathogenic bacteria.