Gregg Semenza

Gregg Semenza

2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

C. Michael Armstrong professor of pediatrics, radiation oncology, biological chemistry, medicine, and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He serves as the director of the vascular program at the Institute for Cell Engineering. He was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability."

Education and Work Experience

  • 1984, He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania
  • 1986, He completed his residency in pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center
  • 1986-1990, He performed postdoctoral research in medical genetics at Johns Hopkins.
  • 1990, He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty
Honors and Awards

    • 2008, Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences
    • 2012, Elected to the Institute of Medicine
    • 2016, Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
    • 2019, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

In 1992, Semenza and co-authors announced their ground-breaking discovery of hypoxia inducible factor 1 or HIF-1, which helps cells cope with low oxygen levels. The discovery has far-reaching implications in for understanding low oxygen health conditions like coronary artery disease and tumor growth. Since then Semenza has identified genes turned on by HIF-1 that control energy production, the making of red blood cells and the growth of blood vessels. He currently is studying the role of HIF-1 in cancer, ischemia and chronic lung disease, the most common causes of mortality in the U.S. population.