Harald Zur Hausen life and biography

Harald zur Hausen picture, image, poster

Harald Zur Hausen biography

Date of birth : 1936-03-11
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Nationality : German
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-19
Credited as : chemist, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, HPV16 and 18

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Dr. Harald zur Hausen conducted research that concluded in 1974 that the human papilloma virus, which causes skin warts, also causes cervical cancer. About a decade later he identified the main genotypes that carry the disease, HPV16 and 18. Prior to zur Hausen's findings, it was widely but incorrectly believed that cervical cancer, which is among the most common cancers to strike women, is caused by herpes simplex virus. Zur Hausen has said that when he first presented his work, it was greeted with "stony silence" and indifference. His findings were gradually accepted, and led to development of Gardasil, a vaccine against cervical cancer. In 2008 zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier. Though technically retired, zur Hausen remains active in his laboratory at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and serves as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cancer. His wife is virologist Ethel-Michele de Villiers.

He received the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 2008 for his contributions to medical science.He also shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who discovered the human immunodeficiency virus.

There was controversy over the 2008 award when it was learned that two senior figures in the process that chose zur Hausen, whose Nobel award had been in recognition of his discovery of the human papillomavirus (HPV), had a financial interest in vaccines for the cervical cancer it can cause. This newspaper report has been regarded as meritless and there is little controversy among the general scientific community that zur Hausen's discoveries into the viral causes of human cancer warrant Nobel recognition.


Nobel Prize for Medicine 2008 (with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier)
Robert Koch Prize 1975
Charles Mott Prize 1986

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