Baruj Benacerraf

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Benacerraf, Baruj

(bä`ro͞okh bĕnăs`ərəf), 1920–2011, American immunologist, b. Caracas, Venezuela, grad. Columbia (B.S., 1942), Medical College of Virginia (M.D., 1945). Raised in Paris, his Sephardic Jewish family fled the Nazis and came to the United States at the outset of World War II; he became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He worked (1950–56) as a researcher in Paris before becoming a professor at New York Univ. (1956–66). Head of the pathology department at Harvard Medical School from 1969, he later became president of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (1980–91). His research in the early 1960s led to the discovery of genes that regulate immunological responses, for which he shared (with George SnellSnell, George Davis,
1903–96, American immunologist, b. Bradford, Mass., Ph.D. Harvard, 1930. He was associated with the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine from 1935 to 1973.
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 and Jean DaussetDausset, Jean
, 1916–2009, French immunologist. A physician specializing in blood diseases, he was the laboratory director of the National Blood Transfusion Center (1946–63) and a professor at the Univ. of Paris (1958–77) and the Collège de France.
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) the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


See his autobiography (1998).

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Benacerraf, Baruj

(1920–  ) immunologist; born in Caracas, Venezuela. He moved to Paris with his family (1925) and emigrated to the U.S.A. (1940). After his medical internship and U.S. Army service (1945–48), he joined Columbia University (1948–50). He performed research in Paris (1950–56), relocated to New York University (1956–68), moved to the National Institutes of Health (1968–70), then joined Harvard (1970–91), concurrently serving the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (1980). He began studies of allergy in 1948, and discovered the Ir (immune response) genes that govern transplant rejection (1960s). In 1972 he demonstrated the existence of T and B lymphocytes. He shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for his contributions to cellular immunology. He continued his T-cell research and remained active in many professional societies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.