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Harald zur Hausen

Born: 11-Mar-1936
Birthplace: Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Papilloma virus

Dr. Harald zur Hausen conducted research that concluded in 1974 that the human papilloma virus, which causes skin warts, also causes cervical cancer. About a decade later he identified the main genotypes that carry the disease, HPV16 and 18. Prior to zur Hausen's findings, it was widely but incorrectly believed that cervical cancer, which is among the most common cancers to strike women, is caused by herpes simplex virus. Zur Hausen has said that when he first presented his work, it was greeted with "stony silence" and indifference. His findings were gradually accepted, and led to development of Gardasil, a vaccine against cervical cancer. In 2008 zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier. Though technically retired, zur Hausen remains active in his laboratory at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and serves as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cancer. His wife is virologist Ethel-Michele de Villiers.

Wife: Ethel-Michele de Villiers (virologist)

    High School: Vechta Gymnasium, Vechta, Germany
    University: University of Bonn
    University: University of Hamburg
    Medical School: MD, University of Düsseldorf (1960)
    Scholar: University of Düsseldorf (1962-65)
    Teacher: Virology, University of Pennsylvania (1966-69)
    Professor: Virology, University of Würzburg (1969-72)
    Professor: Virology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (1972-77)
    Professor: Virology, University of Freiburg (1977-83)
    Administrator: Scientific Director, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany (1983-2003)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 2008 (with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier)
    Robert Koch Prize 1975
    Charles Mott Prize 1986
    German Ancestry

Author of books:
Viruses in Naturally Occurring Cancers (1980, with Myron Essex and George Todaro)
Viral Etiology of Cervical Cancer (1986, with Richard Peto)
Infections Causing Human Cancer (aka Infections and Cancer) (2006)



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