Celebrating Nobel Week and Stanford professor Thomas Südhof, MD

October 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

This week, Stanford celebrates neuroscientist Thomas Südhof, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, for winning the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Nobel prize medal

Südhof shared the prize with James Rothman, PhD, a former Stanford professor of biochemistry, and Randy Schekman, PhD, who earned his doctorate at Stanford under the late Arthur Kornberg, MD, another winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The three were awarded the prize “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells.” Please visit Stanford’s School of Medicine website to learn more about Südhof’s accomplishment.

Südhof joins an elite group. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to just 204 other people since 1901 — including Karl Landsteiner, the “Father of Transfusion Medicine.” Landsteiner was awarded the prize in 1930 for his discovery that there are different human blood groups. Prior to his discovery, people thought that all blood was the same — a belief that led to fatal blood transfusions. His discoveries, and later his discovery of the RH blood group system, opened up the world of transfusion medicine and saved countless lives.

Visit the Nobel website to learn more about Landsteiner and how his work paved the way for safe transfusions. You can even play the Blood Typing educational game, which was designed to help explain the significance of Landsteiner’s discoveries. The game, which won a Swedish Learning Award, teaches the basics about human blood types and blood typing, as well as understanding one reason for its importance — to be able to save lives performing safe blood transfusions.