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Becoming Master of Balliol College, Oxford


Validation of my work on hepatitis B
Baruch Blumberg Physician
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I'd like to say one more thing about the… the Nobel prize itself. It… it… the short statement in the prize did not specifically refer to the hepatitis B, the longer explanation did, but it was given to Carleton Gajdusek and myself, although we had never worked together but our… our sort of style of… of doing research was very similar and that was noted by the Nobel committee, that we didn't work just on the virus, which is frequently the case in… in microbiological research, but it was the virus, the host, different responses of the host, the environmental factors that interacted with the virus and the host, the… the community, the population in which the host was and the effect of the virus on the population, not just on the individual host, and its interaction with behavior. And both Carleton and I had done, I think I pointed out before, we'd published papers in Anthropology and in Population Biology and Population Genetics, and I think that was… that was something that pleased me very much because the… the committee kind of saw the… the approach that we'd used and, as a matter of fact, that's one of the reasons I felt somewhat — as it turned out — uncomfortable at NIH, because they wanted to separate those ways of approaching science, whereas when I came here to Fox Chase, there was this kind of liberation, you know, I could work on… work on… I didn't have to work on some kind of category — there wasn't a restriction, there was less confinement into the style and the science. So that was very encouraging, of course, to… to get that validation, you might say, of what we… the way we'd approached the problems.

American research physician Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011) was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 along with D Carleton Gajdusek for their work on the origins and spread of infectious viral diseases that led to the discovery of the hepatitis B virus. Blumberg’s work covered many areas including clinical research, epidemiology, virology, genetics and anthropology.

Listeners: Rebecca Blanchard

Dr Rebecca Blanchard is Director of Clinical Pharmacology at Merck & Co., Inc. in Upper Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Her education includes a BSc in Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While at Utah, she studied in the laboratories of Dr Raymond Galinsky and Dr Michael Franklin with an emphasis on drug metabolism pathways. After receiving her PhD, Dr Blanchard completed postdoctoral studies with Dr Richard Weinshilboum at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on human pharmacogenetics. While at Mayo, she cloned the human sulfotransferase gene SULT1A1 and identified and functionally characterized common genetic polymorphisms in the SULT1A1 gene. From 1998 to 2004 Dr Blanchard was an Assistant Professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. In 2005 she joined the Clinical Pharmacology Department at Merck & Co., Inc. where her work today continues in the early and late development of several novel drugs. At Merck, she has contributed as Clinical Pharmacology Representative on CGRP, Renin, Losartan, Lurasidone and TRPV1 programs and serves as chair of the TRPV1 development team. Dr Blanchard is also Co-chair of the Neurology Pharmacogenomics Working Group at Merck. Nationally, she has served the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics on the Strategic Task Force and the Board of Directors. Dr Blanchard has also served on NIH study sections, and several Foundation Scientific Advisory Boards.

Tags: Nobel prize, Carleton Ggajdusek

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 28 September 2009