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Peter C. Doherty
zinkernagel australia immunologist

1. Introduction

Peter Charles Doherty AC FRS FMedSci (born 15 October 1940)[1] is an Australian immunologist and Nobel laureate.[2] He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1995, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Rolf M. Zinkernagel[3] in 1996 and was named Australian of the Year in 1997.[4] In the Australia Day Honours of 1997, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his work with Zinkernagel.[5] He is also a National Trust Australian Living Treasure.[6] In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Doherty's immune system research was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as an iconic "innovation and invention".[7]

2. Early Life and Education

Peter Charles Doherty was born in the Brisbane suburb of Sherwood on 15 October 1940, to Eric Charles Doherty and Linda Doherty (née Byford).[8][9] He grew up in Oxley,[10] and attended Indooroopilly State High School (which now has a lecture theatre named after him).

After receiving his bachelor's degree in veterinary science in 1962 from the University of Queensland, he was a rural veterinary officer for the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock before taking up laboratory-based work at the Department's Animal Research Institute.[11] There he met microbiology graduate Penelope Stephens and they were married in 1965.[11] Doherty received his master's degree in veterinary science in 1966 from the University of Queensland.[12]

He obtained his PhD in pathology[13] in 1970 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland,[14] then returned to Australia to continue his research at the John Curtin School of Medical Research within the Australian National University in Canberra.

3. Research and Career

Doherty's research focuses[15][16] on the immune system and his Nobel work described how the body's immune cells protect against viruses. He and Rolf Zinkernagel, the co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discovered how T cells recognise their target antigens in combination with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins.[17]

Viruses infect host cells and reproduce inside them. Killer T-cells destroy those infected cells so that the viruses cannot reproduce. Zinkernagel and Doherty discovered that, in order for killer T cells to recognise infected cells, they had to recognise two molecules on the surface of the cell – not only the virus antigen, but also a molecule of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This recognition was done by a T-cell receptor on the surface of the T cell. The MHC was previously identified as being responsible for the rejection of incompatible tissues during transplantation. Zinkernagel and Doherty discovered that the MHC was responsible for the body fighting meningitis viruses too.[18]

His semi-autobiographical book, The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize,[19] was published in 2005. A Light History of Hot Air was published in 2007 by Melbourne University Press.[20] In 2012 he published the book Sentinel Chickens.[21] His fourth book The Knowledge Wars was published in 2015.[22]

3.1. Awards and Honours

Doherty was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1987.[23] In 1997, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[24] He is the patron of the eponymous Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health. It houses a group of infection and immunology experts, including Director Professor Sharon Lewin, who are charged with leading the battle against infectious diseases in humans. This became operational in 2014.[25] He became an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2015.[26] In the same year he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS).[27] In April 2017 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Victoria (FRSV).[28]

John Monash Science School,[29] Moreton Bay Boys College,[30] and Murrumba State Secondary College[31] each have a house named after him.

4. Personal Life

(As of 2021), Peter Doherty and his wife Penny live in Melbourne.[32] They have two sons, Michael, a neurologist,[33] and James, a barrister,[11] and six grandchildren.[34]

Doherty currently spends three months of the year conducting research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he is a faculty member at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center through the College of Medicine.[35] For the other 9 months of the year, he works in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, Victoria.

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. Anon (2017). "Doherty, Prof. Peter Charles". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.13865.  (subscription or UK public library membership required) (Subscription content?)
  2. "Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC". 2 November 2015. 
  3. "Peter Doherty - Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative". 
  4. Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5. 
  5. "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". 
  6. "Peter C. Doherty, PhD". 
  7. Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. 
  8. "Births". The Courier-Mail: p. 6, col. 1. 21 October 1940. 
  9. "Peter C. Doherty - Biographical". 
  10. "Antipodes Science: Peter Doherty...downloaded". 23 November 1996. 
  11. Collis, Brad. "Survival of the Cells". 
  12. "Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC". 2 November 2015. 
  14. Doherty, Peter Charles (1970). Studies in the experimental pathology of louping-ill encephalitis (PhD thesis). hdl:1842/17153. EThOS 699841. //
  15. {{Google Scholar id}} template missing ID and not present in Wikidata.
  16. Peter C. Doherty publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (Subscription content?)
  17. Hawkes, Nigel (8 October 1996). "Immunity scientists win Nobel prize". The Times (London): p. 13. 
  18. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996". 
  19. The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize: The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing Ltd, 2005
  20. A Light History of Hot Air (2011)
  21. Miegunyah Press , accessed 8 July 2014
  22. "Interview: Peter Doherty, Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine in 1996" , in ABC Lateline, 25 August 2015
  23. "Peter Doherty". 
  24. "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement. 
  25. "Peter Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne". 
  26. "Report of the Annual Fellows' Meeting 2015 - The Academy of Medical Sciences". 
  27. "Fellowship | AAHMS – Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences" (in en-AU). 
  28. "Elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Victoria - The Royal Society of Victoria" (in en-US). The Royal Society of Victoria. 
  29. "House Programs" (in en). 
  30. "Moreton Bay Boys' College School House Program" (in en-US). Moreton Bay Boys' College. 
  31. "Murrumba State Secondary College" (in en). 2011-09-15. 
  32. Willis, Olivia (13 July 2021). "Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty on navigating COVID-19 and life in lockdown". ABC News. 
  33. Walker, Jamie (4 April 2020). "Coronavirus is just as lethal as Spanish flu, Nobel laureate Peter Doherty warns". The Australian. 
  34. Durkin, Patrick (8 May 2020). "'I'm 79, I won the Nobel Prize and I don't give a s---'". Australian Financial Review. 
  35. "UTHSC people search". 
Name: Peter C. Doherty
Born: Oct 1940
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Title: Immunologist
Affiliations: John Curtin School of Medical Research Australian National University
Honors: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1996) Australian of the Year (1997) Leeuwenhoek Lecture (1999)
Subjects: Others
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 711
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 08 Dec 2022
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