NIDDK Awardees

We are proud of the scientific contributions that all of our scientists and grantees have made, and continue to make.

1950s

Dr. Dickinson W. Richards

1956—Institute grantee Dr. Dickinson W. Richards, Jr. shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists. They developed heart catheterization techniques to study and diagnose circulatory disorders.

Dr. Arthur Kornberg

1959—Dr. Arthur Kornberg, former chief of the Institute’s enzyme and metabolism section, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another scientist for synthesizing nucleic acid.

1960s

Dr. James D. Watson

1962—Institute grantee Dr. James D. Watson received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with two other scientists for discovering that DNA’s structure is a double helix. This was a landmark finding of the 20th century, and it opened the field of modem genetics.

Dr. John Kendrew

1962—Institute grantee Dr. John Kendrew shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered the molecular structure of myoglobin, a form of the blood protein hemoglobin found in muscle.

Dr. Robert S. Woodward

1965—Institute grantee Dr. Robert S. Woodward won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the art of organic synthesis. Among the many compounds he synthesized were quinine, cholesterol, cortisone, and chlorophyll.

Dr. Charles B. Huggins

1966—Institute grantee Dr. Charles B. Huggins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the hormonal treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg

October 16, 1968—Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg of the National Heart Institute shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists. Dr. Nirenberg reported his celebrated partial cracking of the genetic code while an NIAMD scientist.

1970s

Dr. Earl W. Sutherland, Jr.

1971—Institute grantee Dr. Earl W. Sutherland, Jr. won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his findings on the mechanisms of hormone action. His work greatly advanced the field of endocrinology.  

Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen

October 1972—Dr. Christian B. Anfinsen, chief of the Institute’s Laboratory of Chemical Biology, shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two other American scientists for demonstrating one of the most important simplifying concepts of molecular biology: that the three-dimensional conformation of a native protein is determined by the chemistry of its amino acid sequence. A significant part of the research cited by the award was performed while Anfinsen was with the NIH.

Dr. Gerald M. Edelman

1972—Institute grantee Dr. Gerald M. Edelman shared the Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of the chemical structure of antibodies that led to a better understanding of the immune system.

Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg

October 1976—Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another scientist for their research on infectious diseases. Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus protein, the “Australia antigen,” in 1963 while at the Institute. This advance has proven to be a scientific and clinical landmark in detecting and controlling viral hepatitis and led to the development of preventive measures against hepatitis and liver cancer.

Dr. Roger C.L. Guillemin and Dr. Andrew V. Schally

December 1977—Institute grantees Drs. Roger C.L. Guillemin and Andrew V. Schally shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with a third scientist. Guillemin’s and Schally’s prizes were for discoveries related to the brain’s production of peptide hormones.

1980s

Dr. Joseph E. Rall

September 1980—Dr. Joseph E. Rall, director of NIAMDD intramural research, became the first person at the NIH to be named to the distinguished executive rank in the Senior Executive Service. President Jimmy Carter presented the award in ceremonies at the White House on September 9.

Dr. Walter Gilbert

1980—Institute grantee Dr. Walter Gilbert shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to determining base sequences in DNA.

Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld

November 1982—Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld, chief of the NIADDK’s genetics and biochemistry branch, received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award. She was cited, along with Dr. Roscoe O. Brady of the then-named National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, for their contributions to the understanding and diagnosis of inherited diseases called mucopolysaccharide storage disorders.

Dr. R. Bruce Merrifield

1984—Institute grantee Dr. R. Bruce Merrifield won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for development of solid-phase peptide synthesis.

Dr. Michael S. Brown

1985—Former Institute intramural researcher Dr. Michael S. Brown shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another former NIH scientist for studies on cholesterol metabolism regulation that have led to new treatments for atherosclerosis.

Dr. Herbert A. Hauptman

1985—Institute grantee Dr. Herbert A. Hauptman shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating methods to determine crystal structures. The methods advanced the development of practical instruments for learning the three-dimensional shape of molecules.

Dr. Harold E. Varmus

1989—Former Institute intramural researcher Dr. Harold E. Varmus shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another former NIH scientist. They demonstrated that oncogenes, genes capable of converting normal cells into cancerous ones, can arise from normal cellular genes. Varmus later served as NIH Director.

1990s

Dr. E. Donnall Thomas

1990—Institute grantee Dr. E. Donnall Thomas shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another NIH grantee for pioneering transplant therapy. Thomas’ early advances in bone marrow transplantation have aided patients with leukemia and many other diseases.

Dr. Edwin G. Krebs and Dr. Edmond H. Fischer

October 12, 1992—Institute grantees Drs. Edwin G. Krebs and Edmond H. Fischer were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on reversible protein phosphorylation. At the time of the award, the scientists had been receiving continuous NIDDK grant support since 1951 and 1956, respectively.

Dr. Martin Rodbell and Dr. Alfred G. Gilman

October 10, 1994—Drs. Martin Rodbell and Alfred G. Gilman received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering G-proteins, a key component in the signaling system that regulates cellular activity. Dr. Rodbell discovered the signal transmission function of GTP while a researcher at the then-named NIAMD.  

Dr. Paul D. Boyer

1997—Institute grantee Dr. Paul D. Boyer shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering how the enzyme ATP synthase drives the formation of ATP, the carrier of energy for cells in all living things.

Dr. Ferid Murad

1998—Institute grantee Dr. Ferid Murad shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for work demonstrating that the gas nitric oxide plays a role as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.

2000s

Dr. Peter Agre

October 8, 2003—NIDDK grantee Dr. Peter Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with another scientist for studies of channels in cell membranes. Agre discovered aquaporins, proteins that move water molecules through the cell membrane.

Dr. Richard Axel

October 4, 2004—Dr. Richard Axel, once an intramural research fellow under NIDDK’s Dr. Gary Felsenfeld, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another scientist for discovering a large family of receptors selectively expressed in cells that detect specific odors.

Dr. Irwin A. Rose and Dr. Avram Hershko

October 6, 2004—Longtime NIDDK grantees Drs. Irwin A. Rose and Avram Hershko shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with another scientist for discovering ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation inside the cell.

Dr. Oliver Smithies

October 2007—Institute grantee Dr. Oliver Smithies shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for discovering principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by using embryonic stem cells.

2010s

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and Dr. Douglas Coleman

September 2010—NIDDK grantee Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and former grantee Dr. Douglas Coleman won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discovering the hormone leptin, which plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure.

Dr. Bruce Beutler

October 3, 2011—NIDDK grantee Dr. Bruce Beutler shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with NIH grantee Dr. Jules Hoffman for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity. NIH grantee Dr. Ralph Steinman also shared the award posthumously for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

Dr. Thomas E. Starzl

September 21, 2012—Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, a longtime NIDDK grantee, received the Lasker- DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, shared with another scientist for his work developing liver transplantation, an intervention that has restored normal life to thousands of people with end-stage liver disease.

Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz

October 2012—Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz, who trained at NIDDK as a clinical associate in the Clinical Endocrinology Branch, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals.

Dr. James Rothman

October 2013—NIDDK grantee Dr. James Rothman shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with fellow NIH grantees Drs. Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells.

Dr. Adriaan Bax

September 2018—Dr. Adriaan “Ad” Bax, a section chief in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Chemical Physics, received the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry for contributions to transforming NMR spectroscopy for the study of the structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules.

Dr. Gregg L. Semenza

September 2016—NIDDK grantee Dr. Gregg L. Semenza shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with NIH grantee Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. and another scientist for their discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability—a process essential for survival. And in October 7, 2019—NIDDK grantee Dr. Gregg L. Semenza shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with NIH grantee Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. and another scientist for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.