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US Immunologist William E. Paul Receives the Max Delbrück Medal

The American immunologist Dr. William E. Paul has received the Max Delbrück Medal in Berlin. The jury honored the researcher for his work on a key regulator of the immune system, interleukin 4 (IL-4). Dr. Paul works at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Professor Andreas Radbruch, scientific director of the German Rheuma Research Center Berlin, held the laudatory address.

IL-4 is the decisive factor determining which defense cells the immune system selects to react to certain pathogens. Dr. Paul was able to demonstrate how this occurs. He succeeded in characterizing the receptor on immune cells to which IL-4 binds. Thus, IL-4 stimulates for example T helper cells of the immune system to develop into the kind of T cells that themselves produce IL-4. The IL-4 produced by these specific T cells subsequently binds to the receptor on the immune system’s B cells, which then produce antibodies targeting the pathogens.

Professor Radbruch said about the research of William Paul: “His claim to fame is the discovery of the molecular bases of the immunological memory driving allergy. Moreover, his discoveries have been essential for our current understanding of how immunological memory works as such and how we may be able to manipulate it for the benefit of vaccination.

Paul has received many scientific awards, among them the Texas Instruments' Foundation Founders' Prize, the 3M Life Sciences Award, the Tovi Comet Wallerstein Prize (Bar-Ilan University) and Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Awarded annually since 1992, the Max Delbrück Medal is presented to outstanding scientists on the occasion of the “Berlin Lectures on Molecular Medicine”, which the MDC organizes together with other Berlin research institutions and Bayer HealthCare – Bayer Schering Pharma (formerly Ernst Schering Research Foundation). The conferral of the award takes place in conjunction with a lecture given by the award recipient – the Berlin Lecture. The first award recipient was Professor Günter Blobel, who later received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

William E. Paul - Receiver of the Max Delbrück Medal (Photo: private)

Barbara Bachtler
Press and Public Affairs
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)
Robert-Rössle-Str. 10¸13125 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 96; Fax: +49 (0) 30 94 06 -
38 33

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