DohertyNobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel in 1996
Faculty Member at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Fellow of the Royal Society

Master’s degree in Veterinary Science: University of Queensland
PhD: University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Research Interests:
• various aspects of the CD8 T cell response that is generated after virus infection
• quality and quantity of CD8 T cell responses after Influenza A virus infection
• structural features of T cell receptor recognition of viral epitope/MHC complexes.
• influenza A specific CD8 T cell populations and their regulation
• cellular immunity after administration of novel vaccine strategies

Professor Peter Doherty shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell-mediated immune defence.
He was Australian of the Year in 1997, and has since been commuting between St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. His research is mainly in the area of defence against viruses. He earned his bachelor’s (1962) and master’s (1966) degrees in veterinary medicine from the University of Queensland but switched to pathology while earning his doctorate (1970) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a research fellow at the Australian National University (1972-75), a professor at the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia (1975-82), and a professor at the Australian National University (1982-88). In 1988 Doherty became chairman of the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In the early 1970s, he and Rolf Zinkernagel discovered that for white blood cells (lymphocytes) to fight infection the cells have to recognize not only the "foreign" molecules of the virus but also certain "self" molecules known as histocompatibility antigens. Their work has had implications in medicine for the development of therapies to boost immune response against threats such as harmful microorganisms and cancer as well as in treatment of autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Prof. Doherty is also the author of several books, including A Light History of Hot Air, The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize, Sentinel Chickens: What Birds Tell us About our Health and the World and Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Selected publications:

  1. Zinkernagel RM, Doherty PC. Cytotoxic thymus-derived lymphocytes in cerebrospinal fluid of mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis. J Exp Med 1973; 138: 1266-1269. PMID: 4542807
  2. Doherty PC. Quantitative Studies of the Inflammatory Process in Fatal Viral Meningoencephalitis. Am J Pathol 1973; 73(3): 607-622. PMID: 4543710
  3. Zinkernagel RM, Dunlop MBC, Doherty PC. Cytotoxic T cell activity is strain specific in outbred mice infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. J Immunol 1975; 115: 1613-1616. PMID: 127010
  4. Zinkernagel RM, Dunlop MBC, Blanden RV, Doherty PC, Shreffler DC. H-2 compatibility requirements for virus-specific T cell-mediated cytolysis: Evaluation of the role of H-2I region and non H-2 genes in regulating immune response. J Exp Med 1976; 144: 519-532.autoreactivity in sensitized individuals. Science 253:557-560. PMID: 1085331
  5. Dunlop MB, Doherty PC, Zinkernagel RM, Bladen RV. Cytotoxic T cell response to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Properties of precursors of effector T cells, primary effector T cells and memory T cells in vitro and in vivo. Immunology 1977 Sep;33(3), 115: 361-8. PMID: 302823

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