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    Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, PhD, elected to Institute of Medicine


    Peter C, Doherty, PhD

    Peter Doherty, PhD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a prestigious branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Doherty, who holds the Michael F. Tamer Chair of Biomedical Research, is among 65 new members of the IOM, raising the total membership to 1,736. Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

    “This is a terrific honor for Dr. Doherty, who of course already has the greatest honor in medicine, the Nobel Prize, and signifies the importance of his basic science to clinical medicine,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO. “His election to IOM is also a great honor for St. Jude, as we now have four members of our faculty who have been elected to the IOM of the National Academy.”

    Current active members elect new members from among candidates nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service. An unusual diversity of talent is assured by the IOM’s charter, which stipulates that at least one-quarter of the membership be selected from outside the health professions, from such fields as the natural, social and behavioral sciences, as well as law, administration, engineering and the humanities. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer a significant amount of time as members of IOM committees, which engage in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.

    Former St. Jude director, Arthur Nienhuis, MD; Evans, current St. Jude director and CEO; and Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology co-chair, are also IOM members.

    Doherty won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996 with Rolf M. Zinkernagel, MD. The immunologists’ experiments revolutionized the field by explaining the mechanism of T-cell recognition in cell-mediated immunity. They discovered T cells simultaneously recognize MHC self-protein and a foreign antigen on the surface of virally infected cells. Their discovery of MHC Restriction of T-Cell Recognition opened the door to an understanding of the immune system that has impacted autoimmune disease research, vaccine design, organ transplantation and the understanding of immune surveillance.

    Doherty joined St. Jude in 1988.

    St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.

    October 2008