The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to UEA Alumnus, Michael Houghton, who shares the prize with Harvey J. Alter and Charles M. Rice for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
The announcement was made earlier today by Professor Thomas Perlmann, Secretary-General for the Nobel Assembly and the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine.
Houghton, who was graduated from UEA with a degree in biological sciences in 1972, went onto complete his PhD in biochemistry at Kings College London. In 1982 he moved to the Chiron Corporation in California, it was here that he discovered Hepatitis C. Houghton now resides at the University of Alberta and heads up the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute in Edmonton. In 2019, Houghton received an honorary degree from UEA.
Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “We are immensely proud to see one of our graduates go on to win the Nobel Prize. Professor Houghton demonstrates all that can be achieved in a scientific career and serves as a great example for all the students at the university today. I was delighted to welcome Professor Houghton back to UEA in 2019 to receive an honorary Doctorate in recognition of his contributions to science and global health.”
Following the announcement by Professor Perlmann, Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam also from the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine said: “The Nobel Laureates’ discovery of Hepatitis C virus is a landmark achievement in the ongoing battle against viral diseases. Thanks to their discovery, highly sensitive blood tests for the virus are now available and these have essentially eliminated post-transfusion hepatitis in many parts of the world, greatly improving global health.”
This award is the first of the 6 announcements of Nobel Laurette’s expected between today and the 12 October 2020.