Immunology and Neurology Pioneer Dies

Gerald Edelman, who broke new ground in two distinct fields of life science, has passed away at age 84.

By | May 24, 2014

FLICKR, ANDERS ZAKRISSONBiologist Gerald Edelman, who shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1972 for his work on the immune system died this month (May 17). Although the cause of death was unclear, Edelman had prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He was 84.

Edelman discovered that antibodies were made of two peptide chains—one long and one short—instead of one long peptide chain, as was once thought. Starting in the mid-1970s, Edelman shifted his research focus to the brain. He developed a theory that neuronal groups were selected for much like Darwinian selection produces certain phenotypes. He had previously found that antibody selection worked this way. The theory was controversial, but has been supported by subsequent research findings.

“There isn’t going to be any kind of theory of the brain that doesn’t involve elements of his ideas,” Peter Vanderklish, a neuroscientist and colleague of Edelman’s at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, told The New York Times. “The brain is never—never has been or ever will be—in the same state twice, and will never encounter the same environmental cues twice. What’s attractive about his model is that it tries to address that reality.”

Edelman is survived by his wife, two sons, and daughter.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Running on Empty
    Features Running on Empty

    Regularly taking breaks from eating—for hours or days—can trigger changes both expected, such as in metabolic dynamics and inflammation, and surprising, as in immune system function and cancer progression.

  2. Athletes’ Microbiomes Differ from Nonathletes
  3. Mutation Linked to Longer Life Span in Men
  4. Gut Feeling
    Daily News Gut Feeling

    Sensory cells of the mouse intestine let the brain know if certain compounds are present by speaking directly to gut neurons via serotonin.

AAAS