It isn’t often in the course of an institution’s history that a single year stands out so clearly, but such was the 1985—1986 academic year for UT Southwestern.
On October 14, 1985, it was announced that Drs. Joseph L. Goldstein and Michael S. Brown had won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism.”
Never before had a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine been awarded for
research done exclusively within the state of Texas. Brown and Goldstein found that “human cells have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that remove cholesterol from the blood” and that when LDL receptors are not present in sufficient numbers, individuals become at risk for cholesterol related diseases.
It was a pioneering discovery that would lead to the development of statins, which help regulate cholesterol, improve the quality of life for millions of people, and save lives.
The Nobel Prize, wrote Harriet Zuckerman in her book Scientific Elite, is the “gold standard by which all other scientific awards are judged…[the] universal and instantly understood metaphor of supreme achievement.”