© The Nobel Foundation
Richard Axel

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Richard Axel: Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Richard Axel is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 2004, which he shared with Linda B. Buck for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of olfactory system.

He was born on July 2, 1946, in New York City, New York. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School, in 1963. He received an A.B., in 1967, from Columbia University. He then went on the John Hopkins University and received his M.D. in 1970.

Axel’s major interests are on how the brain interprets the sense of smell. He is a Professor at Columbia University, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Pathology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and he is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Richard Axel has received many awards and honors:
● The John Hopkins Medical Society Research Award, 1969
● The Ely Lilly Award, 1983
● Members of the National Academy of Sciences, 1983
● Member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1983
● The New York Academy of Sciences Award in Biological and Medical Sciences, 1984
● The Richard Lounsbery Award, National Academy of Sciences, 1989
● The Unilever Science award, with Dr. Linda Buck, 1996
● New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, 1997
● Bristol-Myers Squib Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research, 1998
● The Alexander Hamilton Award, Columbia University, 1999
● N.Y. Academy of Medicine Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Sciences, 2001
● The Gairdner Foundation International Award for Achievement in Neuroscience, 2003
● The Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize, with Dr. Linda Buck, 2003
● A member of the Philosophical Society, 2003

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