ZURICH. SWITZERLAND NOVEMBER 1990. The World Cultural Council presented the 1990 Albert Einstein World Award of Science to Prof. Sir Gustav Nossal, Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and Professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne. Australia. The Awarding Ceremony took place at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich which acted as host for 1990.
Among Prof. Nossal's many contributions to immunology, his discovery of the cellular basis of antibody formation proved to be the keystone for the general framework of thinking about the immune response now accepted by immunologists world wide. This discovery revealed how the cells of the body make antibodies, the protective proteins found in the bloodstream after infection or vaccination, which prevent re-infection with the same organism. Prof. Nossal also contributed to the understanding of immunological tolerance, which allows the body to manufacture antibodies to foreign microbes and other substances, but not to components of the body itself. Understanding of immunological tolerance is the key to successful organ transplantation and better treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Prof. Nossal was born in Bad Ischl, Austria in 1931. He received his BS Medical in Bacteriology in 1952 and graduated Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 1954 from the University of Sydney, both with first class honours. In 1960 he received his Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne.
He has received many awards and honours, among them the Phi Beta Kappa Science Award, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Fellow of the Royal Society of London and three honorary degrees. He has been a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science since 1967.
Prof. Nossal has published seven books which have been translated into several languages and has authored or co-authored over 400 scientific publications.