William Kaelin, Jr.

William Kaelin, Jr.

2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and Associate Director, Basic Science, for the Harvard Cancer Center, a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He recently served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the IOM National Cancer Policy Board. 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

  •  1979, BA in Mathematics, A.B. in Chemistry from the Duke University
  • 1982, M.D. in Medicine from the Duke University School of Medicine
  • 1992-Present, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • 2002-Present, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • 2002-Present, Senior Physician, Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Honors and Awards

    • 2010, National Academy of Sciences
    • 2010, Canada Gairdner International Award
    • 2014, Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences
    • 2016, Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award
    • 2018, Massry Prize
    • 2019, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

Dr. Kaelin's research seeks to understand how, mechanistically, mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer. His long-term goal is to lay the foundation for new anticancer therapies based on the biochemical functions of tumor suppressor proteins. His work on the VHL protein helped to motivate the eventual successful clinical testing of VEGF inhibitors for the treatment of kidney cancer. Moreover, this line of investigation led to new insights into how cells sense and respond to changes in oxygen, and thus has implications for diseases beyond cancer, such as anemia, myocardial infarction and stroke.