The Ordered and Disordered Brain in Isolated, Primitive Populations


The Ordered and Disordered Brain in Isolated, Primitive Populations


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A Nobel laureate, Dr. Gajdusek serves as the chief of the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies as well as the director of the Study of Child Growth and Development and Disease Patterns in Primitive Cultures and of the Laboratory of Slow, Latent and Temperate Virus Infections at the National Institute of Health. Born in 1923, Dr. Gajdusek earned his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 1946, and he was a postdoctoral fellow in physical chemistry at California Institute of Technology in 1948. He was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine in 1976 based upon study of viruses, particularly slow virus infections and unconventional viruses. Dr. Gajdusek's memberships include the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Pediatric Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He serves on the editorial boards of Genetic Epidemiology, Neuroepidemiology, and Reviews of Infectious Diseases. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SinoAmerican Center for International Scientific Studies, Dr. Gajdusek also serves on the Scientific Advisory Council of the ALS Foundation and on the Board of Associates of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. He has lectured extensively at such institutions as Harvard Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh, Brown University, Rutgers University, Yale University, and New York University Medical Center.

His Work: Dr. Gajdusek's research has encompassed a broad range of subjects, including protein physical chemistry, mammalian virology, autoimmune diseases, neurological degenerative disorders, human evolution, child behavior, and learning in primitive cultures. Dr. Gajdusek is perhaps best known for his discovery of the slow virus that causes kuru, an infectious neurological disorder found among the Fore people of New Guinea and transmitted by the ritualistic consumption of human brain tissue.

(This information was taken from the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series Program 1988-1989).



Creation Date

December 3, 1988

The Ordered and Disordered Brain in Isolated, Primitive Populations