© The Nobel Foundation
Alfred G. Gilman

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Alfred Goodman Gilman: Nobel
Prize Recipient in Physiology
or Medicine-1994

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Alfred G. Goodman is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 1994, which he shared with Martin Rodbell for their discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells.

G-proteins are a critical element between the activation of receptors of the cell membrane and actions within the cell. Martin Rodbell had shown that the GTP was involved in cell signaling, in the 1960s. It was Alfred Gilman, who discovered the proteins that interacted with the GTP to initiate signaling cascades within the cell.

Alfred Goodman Gilman was born on July 1, 1941. in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, Alfred Gilman, was a Professor at Yale University and one of the authors of the classic textbook, “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics.” His coauthor was Louis Goodman and his father honored him by giving his new born son, Alfred, the middle name of Goodman.

Alfred Goodman Gilman spent his childhood in White Plains, New York, as his father was on the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and the founding Chairman of Pharmacology at the new Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In 1955, he went to the Taft School, in Watertown, Connecticut, for grades 10-12. He enrolled in Yale University and graduated with a B.S. Degree, with a major in Biochemistry, 1962.

He entered a M.D.-Ph.D. program at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. In this program, he had the opportunity to study under Nobel Prize recipient Earl Sutherland. He graduated in 1969 and then did his postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health. Here, he studied under another Nobel Prize recipient, Marshall Nirenberg.

Gilman became a professor at University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1971, He became the chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, in 1981.

Alfred G. Gilman was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1986. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1989. He was elected as Dean of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas, in 2005.

Return to Table of Contents