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Georges J.F. Köhler

Georges J.F. KöhlerAKA Georges Jean Franz Köhler

Born: 17-Apr-1946
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: 1-Mar-1995
Location of death: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Cause of death: Accident - Misc

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

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Hybridoma technique (monoclonal antibodies)

Georges J.F. K÷hler was in his first academic post, doing post-doctorate work as a research fellow under CÚsar Milstein at Cambridge, when they developed the hybridoma technique. This was the first practical method for mass-producing monoclonal antibodies -- forcing immune system cells to produce pure antibodies against a chosen antigen. Their breakthrough is considered one of the most important techniques of biotechnology, but K÷hler and Milstein decided not to patent their work, which has allowed it to be used and adopted more widely than if royalties had been required. This led to the speedy development of several drugs and toxins used for diagnostics and for fighting cancer, leukemia, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). K÷hler and Milstein were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1984, sharing the honor with Danish doctor Niels K. Jerne.

K÷hler was not yet 30 when he did his most famous work, 38 years old when he won the Nobel, and 48 when he was killed in a fire that engulfed his laboratory.

Wife: Claudia Köhler (biologist)

    University: BS Biology, University of Freiburg (1971)
    University: PhD Biology, University of Freiburg (1974)
    Scholar: Immunology, Cambridge University (1974-76)
    Scholar: Immunology, Basel Institute for Immunology (1976-85)
    Administrator: Director, Max Planck Institute for Immune Biology (1985-95)

    Lasker Award 1984
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1984 (with CÚsar Milstein and Niels K. Jerne)

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