Nobel Laureate Winners’ Trinity Connections

Posted on: 14 October 2011

The recently announced joint winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine are Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman for having revolutionised our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation.  They are also close collaborators with Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology and have inspired influential research by Trinity scientists through their discoveries.

Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann were recognised for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, specifically Toll-like receptors, and Ralph Steinman for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.  Speaking about the award Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Luke O’Neill said: “I’d like to congratulate our long-standing friends and collaborators of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology on receiving this prestigious award.  Their discoveries have provided novel insights into disease mechanisms and inspired much of my research over the past 15 years and we look forward to welcoming them back to Trinity in the near future.”

The discoveries of the three Nobel Laureates have opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.  Several labs at Trinity built on the discoveries of the Nobel Laureates including those of Professor of Biochemistry, Luke O’Neill; Professor of Immunology, Andrew Bowie; Associate Professor in Immunology, Clair Gardiner; Professor of Comparative Immunology, Cliona O’Farrelly, and Professor of Experimental Immunology, Kingston Mills.  Two spin-out companies from Trinity, Opsona Therapeutics and Trimod, are developing therapies for inflammatory diseases and cancer based on Toll-like receptors.