Discoverer of G Proteins Dies

Nobel laureate Alfred Gilman has passed away at age 74.

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Dec 29, 2015

WIKIPEDIA, S. JANICHENAlfred Gilman, who discovered cellular signal transducers known as G proteins, died December 23 of pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

“The mechanism that he found explains how many drugs act, it explains how many hormones act and it basically explains how the body responds to its environment,” Michael Brown, Gilman’s colleague at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, told the Associated Press.

Gilman was at the University of Virginia in 1980 when he identified the first G protein after using it to restore defecting signaling in mutant leukemia cells. The accomplishment earned him the 1994 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, alongside Martin Rodbell.

In 1981, Gilman moved to UT Southwestern, where he stayed until 2009, when took on the position of chief scientific officer for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Three years later, Gilman resigned, concerned about the...

“I never doubted he would do anything less than defend what he thought was right in terms of how CPRIT was going to invest in research to really have an impact,” UT Southwestern President Daniel Podolsky told the Associated Press.

Gilman is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Interested in reading more?

Discoverer of G Proteins Dies

The Scientist ARCHIVED CONTENT

ACCESS MORE THAN 30,000 ARTICLES ACROSS MANY TOPICS AND DISCIPLINES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archived stories, digital editions of The Scientist Magazine, and much more!
Already a member?