Ralph M. Steinman

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Ralph M. Steinman

Ralph Marvin Steinman (born January 14, 1943 in Montreal; † September 30, 2011 in New York City)[1][2] was a Canadian immunologist and professor at Rockefeller University in New York City. In 2011, Steinman was posthumously awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann.


Steinman earned a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal in 1963 and completed his medical studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts with an M.D. in 1968. He then worked as a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, before obtaining a professorship(assistant professor in 1970, associate professor in 1976) in leukemia research at Rockefeller University in New York City. From 1988 he was full professor of cell physiology and immunology there. Since 1998, he has also directed the Christopher Browne Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases.

In 2011, Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann. It was in recognition of his discovery of dendritic cells and their role in adaptive immunity.[3] Steinman died three days before the announcement of the award of a cancer diagnosed four years earlier, without his death being known to the prize committee.[1] He received the award posthumously,[4] …which was presented to his widow, Claudia Steinman, on his behalf…

Ralph Steinman was married and the father of two daughters and a son.[5]


Steinman discovered in 1973 together with Zanvil A. Cohn, and subsequently described it as a central and frequently triggering element of the immune response due to its ability to present antigens, in particular through the activation of T cells. However, dendritic cells also play an important role in immune tolerance and resistance to disease. In numerous papers, Steinman and colleagues analyzed the dendritic cell system, its role in the immune response and in various diseases, including transplant rejection, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases including AIDS. The work has been the basis for further research on vaccination and autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer immunotherapy.

Steinman was editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has served on the scientific advisory boards of numerous other journals (including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and scientific societies.

Awards (selection)

  • 1996: Emil von Behring Prize[6]
  • 1998: Max Planck Research Prize[7]
  • 1998: William B. Coley Award[8]
  • 1999: Robert Koch Prize[9]
  • 2001: Membership in the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2003: Gairdner Foundation International Award[10]
  • 2005: Membership of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 2006: Debrecen Prize for Molecular Medicine
  • 2006: Membership in the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2007: Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research[11]
  • 2009: Albany Medical Center Prize[12]
  • 2010: A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine[13]
  • 2011: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (posthumously)[3]


Web links

Individual references

  1. a b The Rockefeller University Rockefeller University scientist Ralph Steinman, honored today with Nobel Prize for discovery of dendritic cells, dies at 68. 3. October 2011.
  2. Lawrence K. Altman, Nicholas Wade: One of 3 Chosen for Nobel in Medicine Died Days Ago. In: The New York Times, October 3, 2011.
  3. a b The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 at, 3 October 2011 (English; retrieved 3 October 2011).
  4. Ralph Steinman Remains Nobel Laureate at (English; retrieved 3 October 2011)
  5. William Grimes: Ralph M. Steinman, a Nobel Recipient for Research on Immunology, Dies at 68 In: The New York Times, October 4, 2011.
  6. Emil von Behring Prize of Philipps-Universität Marburg at; retrieved on 5 October 2012
  7. Max Planck Research Award Winner 1998 at of August 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive)
  8. William B. Coley Award.In: Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  9. Winners of the Robert Koch Prize since 1970 at; retrieved 27 November 2010
  10. Ralph Steinman MD at the Gairdner Foundation; retrieved 14 December 2012
  11. Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award 2010 Winners at; retrieved 27 November 2010
  12. Albany Medical College: 2009.In: March 2011, retrieved 23 January 2016 (English).
  13. Ralph Steinman at; retrieved 9 May 2019.