Harald zur Hausen, MD

Harald zur Hausen, MD
Professor Emeritus, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

Harald zur Hausen, MD | Class of 2013

Revolutionizing the field of oncoviruses and cervical cancer etiology, Dr. zur Hausen was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his seminal discovery of the role of papilloma viruses in cancers of the cervix. In his early work, he demonstrated for the first time that non-virus producing Burkitt’s lymphoma cells contained multiple copies of latent Epstein-Barr virus DNA. Dr. zur Hausen also demonstrated the presence of Epstein-Barr virus in the epithelial cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. He developed some simple methods to isolate human papilloma viruses (HPV) that led to the discovery of HPV 6, a cause of genital warts.

A year later, in 1983, he identified HPV 16 and HPV 18 DNA, respectively, in cervical tumors. We know now, that these viruses are responsible for causing over 75 percent of cervical cancers. Dr. zur Hausen’s discoveries led to the 2006 introduction of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancers, one of the most important recent advances for cancer prevention.

Career Highlights

2016 Big Four of the Millenium, German Society for Gynaecology and Obstetrics
2009 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
2008 Gairdner Foundation International Award
2005 Prize of the Pan-American Society for Clinical Virology
2003 Vice-President, LEOPOLDINA, German Academy of Natural Sciences and Medicine
1999 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research
1998 Elected Member, American Philosophical Society
1996 Ernst-Jung Prize for Medicine
1994 Paul-Ehrlich-und-Ludwig-Darmstaedter-Prize
1993 President, Organization of the European Cancer Institutes (OECI)
1983  Chairman of the Management Board and Scientific Director of DKFZ (German Cancer Research Center)
1977 Chairman and Professor, Institut für Virologie, Zentrum für Hygiene, University of Freiburg, Germany
1975 Robert-Koch Prize
1972 Chairman and Professor, Institut für Klinische Virologie, University of Erlangen- Nürnberg, Germany
1960 MD, University of Düsseldorf, Germany