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  • William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, has won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other physician-scientists for unraveling a molecular mechanism that not only is crucial to survival, but is entwined with cancer and other diseases.

  • William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, Nobel Prize Press Conference, October 7, 2019
    Dana-Farber physician-scientist William Kaelin, MD, describes his reactions to winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and responds to press inquiries about his scientific discoveries leading up to the Nobel prize award. Dr. Kaelin is the Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Video courtesy of The Harvard Gazette.

  • William G. Kaelin Jr., MD
    William G. Kaelin Jr., MD
    Photo by Steve Marsel

    Nobel Prize-winning research

    Kaelin and his collaborators deciphered the core molecular events that explain how almost all multi-cellular animals tune their physiology to cope with varying quantities of life-sustaining oxygen in a unique signaling scheme. Their findings could lead to new therapeutics for a wide range of disorders — including cancer, cardiovascular disease, anemia, and macular degeneration.

    How cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels

    This oxygen-sensing mechanism involves the tumor-suppressor protein VHL, which is mutated in many kidney cancers, and proteins known as hypoxia inducible factors, HIF-1α and HIF-2α. Kaelin showed that HIF-2α drives certain kidney cancers and recently discovered how HIF-1α is hijacked by triple-negative breast cancers. He is developing therapeutic strategies for targeting these molecules and others implicated in cancer, such as mutated enzymes IDH1 and IDH2, with designer drugs.

    Lasker Award

    The Nobel announcement comes just a few years after Kaelin and his collaborators won the 2016 Lasker Award — America's most prestigious biomedical honor, whose winners have often become Nobel laureates.

  • William Kaelin Jr., MD in his lab

    William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, Wins 2019 Nobel Prize

    Read about Dr. Kaelin's award, and the scientific discoveries leading up to it.

    William Kaelin Jr., MD in his office

    'It Was Just Surreal!'

    Learn how Dr. Kaelin found out about his Nobel Prize award, how he reacted, and how his family and team celebrated.

    William Kaelin Jr., MD vision portrait

    The Vision of Bill Kaelin

    Trace Dr. Kaelin's career journey — from young cancer investigator to world-renowned cancer biologist.

  • William Kaelin Jr., MD, being greeted by some members of his lab

    The Day Bill Kaelin Got the News

    View Slideshow
  • National and international coverage of Kaelin's Nobel Prize award

    Nobel Prize Assembly
    New York Times

    Washington Post

    National Public Radio/WBUR

    Boston Globe

    Many honors for Kaelin

    Kaelin's list of prestigious scientific awards, prizes, and honors is impressive — the cancer biologist having received the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award (ASCI), the Foundation Lefoulon-Delalande Scientific Grand Prix, the Alfred Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics (NCI), the Canada Gairdner International Award, and election to the National Academy of Sciences.

    Most recently, Kaelin received the Massry Prize, the Lasker Award, the Science of Oncology Award (ASCO), the Princess Takamatsu Award (AACR), election to the AACR Academy, the Steven C. Beering Award, and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences.

    About Bill Kaelin: profiles, articles, and more

    William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute wins 2019 Nobel Prize
    Lasker Award statement

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute profile

    The Kaelin Laboratory profile

    Massry Award profile

    Gairdner Award profile

    Breast Cancer Research Foundation profile

    Princess Takamatsu Award profile

    Journal of Clinical Investigation
    Stanley Korsmeyer Award

    Video address to Von Hippel Lindau Family Alliance