Award Name : National Medal of Science
Year of Award : 1990
Award for : Biology
Location : Caracas, Monagas, Venezuela
Baruj Benacerraf was a Venezuelan-born American immunologist, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the "discovery of the major histocompatibility complex genes which encode cell surface protein molecules important for the immune system's distinction between self and non-self". Baruj Benacerraf was born on October 29, 1920, in Caracas, Venezuela.
From the age of five until the outbreak of World War II, Benacerraf lived in Paris. In 1940 he entered Columbia University in New York City, from which he graduated in 1942. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1943, while a student at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. After receiving an M.D. in 1945 and interning at Queens General Hospital in New York City, he served (1946–47) in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Benacerraf then spent a year in immunological research at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He moved on to the French National Centre for Scientific Research at the Broussais Hospital in Paris, where he continued to study immunology. In 1956 he joined the faculty of New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. He advanced to professor of pathology in 1960, a position he held until 1968. He received the National Medal Of Science in 1990.