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News Icon Addgene Depositor Bruce Beutler Awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Cambridge, MA - American scientist Bruce Beutler, Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, and Frenchman Jules Hoffmann make up the trio of Scientists that were honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann were awarded the prize for their work in the discovery and characterization of the Toll gene family. Dr. Hoffmann was the first to characterize the Toll genes in flies, showing that they are critical for survival of the organism under attack from bacteria or fungi. Dr. Beutler, on the other hand, was the first to discover the Toll receptor homologs (TLRs) in mammalian cells and demonstrate their role in the innate immune response. Specifically, Dr. Beutler discovered the elusive LPS receptor, a TLR member. The Toll receptors act as the primary point of activation of the innate immune response. In addition to recognizing the contributions from the field of innate immunity, the prize was also awarded to Dr. Steinman for his discovery of dendritic cells. Dendritic cells act to trigger the adaptive immune response by presenting antigen to B and T cells.

Bruce Beutler, an Addgene depositor and currently the chairman of The Scripps Research Institute's Department of Genetics, recently announced his new position as the founding director of the new Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at the UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSMC). Dr. Beutler will return to Dallas in this new position, to the same institution where he made his seminal discoveries that led to his Nobel Prize. Dr. Beutler was a neurology resident and faculty member at UTSMC from 1986-2000.

Addgene would like to congratulate all Nobel Prize winners for their extraordinary contributions to the medical sciences. Read more about the 2011 Nobel Prize winners here. Learn more about Dr. Beutler's collection at Addgene here.