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Niels K. Jerne

Niels K. JerneAKA Niels Kaj Mélanges Jerne

Born: 23-Dec-1911
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 7-Oct-1994
Location of death: Castillon-du-Gard, France
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: Denmark
Executive summary: Immune theory (anti-antibody)

Danish immunologist Niels K. Jerne was 40 years old when he earned his doctorate, and 72 when he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1984. He shared the honor with Georges J.F. K÷hler and CÚsar Milstein, in recognition of all three scientists' research into how the body protects itself against disease.

Jerne proposed three overlapping theories to explain how antibodies are produced, formed, and regulated. For years his ideas were met with great skepticism, but his work is now widely accepted as the basis of modern immunological knowledge. Something of an eccentric character, Jerne cited linguist Noam Chomsky in his Nobel acceptance speech, using Chomsky's theory of generative grammar to explain the human immune system.

Father: Hans Jessen Jerne
Mother: Else Marie Lindberg Jerne
Wife: Ursula Alexandra Kohl Jerne (m. 1964)

    University: BS, Erasmus University (1928)
    University: Physics, University of Leiden (1928-30, transferred to University of Copenhagen)
    Scholar: Immunology, Danish State Serum Institute (1943-56)
    Medical School: MD, University of Copenhagen (1951)
    Scholar: Molecular Biology, California Institute of Technology (1954-55)
    Professor: Biophysics, University of Geneva (1960-62)
    Professor: Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh (1962-66)
    Professor: Experimental Therapy, University of Frankfurt (1966-69)
    Administrator: Director, Basel Institute for Immunology (1969-80)
    Professor: Pasteur Institute of Paris (1980-81)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1984 (with Georges J.F. K÷hler and CÚsar Milstein)
    American Philosophical Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society
    World Health Organization Advisory Committee on Medical Research (1949-68)
    Danish Ancestry

Author of books:
Idiotypic Networks (1984)

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