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Rodney Robert Porter

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Title: Rodney Robert Porter  
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Subject: Gerald Edelman, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Bernard Katz, Tadeusz Reichstein, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin
Collection: 1917 Births, 1985 Deaths, Academics of Imperial College London, Alumni of the University of Liverpool, British Nobel Laureates, English Biochemists, English Methodists, English Nobel Laureates, English Physiologists, Fellows of the Royal Society, National Institute for Medical Research Faculty, Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, People from Newton-Le-Willows, Recipients of the Copley Medal, Road Accident Deaths in England, Royal Medal Winners, Whitley Professors of Biochemistry
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Rodney Robert Porter

Rodney Robert Porter
Born (1917-10-08)8 October 1917
Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire
Died 6 September 1985(1985-09-06) (aged 67)
Nationality English
Fields biochemistry
Institutions National Institute for Medical Research
University of Oxford
Alma mater University of Liverpool
University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Frederick Sanger
Known for Chemical structure of antibodies
Notable awards Gairdner Foundation International Award (1966)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1972)
Royal Medal (1973)
Copley Medal (1983)

Rodney Robert Porter, CH, FRS[1] (8 October 1917 – 6 September 1985) was an English biochemist[2][3] and Nobel laureate.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Born in Newton-le-Willows, St Helens, Lancashire, England, Rodney Robert Porter received his Bachelors of Sciences degree from the University of Liverpool in 1939 for Biochemistry. He moved to the University of Cambridge where he became Fred Sanger's first PhD student. He was awarded his doctorate in 1948.

He worked for the National Institute for Medical Research for eleven years (1949–1960) before joining St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, Imperial College London and becoming the Pfizer Professor of Immunology. In 1967 he was appointed Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Trinity College. His colleague Elizabeth Press (Betty Press) worked with him at NIMR, St Mary's and at Oxford contributing extensively to the work which led to the Nobel Prize.

In 1972, Porter shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology with Gerald M. Edelman for determining the chemical structure of an antibody. Using the enzyme papain, he broke the blood's immunoglobin into fragments, making them easier to study. He also looked into how the blood's immunoglobins react with cellular surfaces. He subsequently worked with colleagues Kenneth BM Reid, Robert Sim and Duncan Campbell on developing understanding of the Complement Proteins associated with defence against infection.

In 1991, Raymond Dwek founded the Oxford Glycobiology Institute at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford and this building was named after Porter as the Rodney Porter building.

He died in a road accident near Winchester, Hampshire and is survived by his wife and five children.


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Johnstone, A. P.; Kerr, M. A.; Turner, M. W. (1985). "Rodney Robert Porter (1917–1985)". Journal of Immunological Methods 85 (1): 1–4.  
  3. ^ Steiner, L. A. (1985). "Rodney Robert Porter (1917–1985)". Nature 317 (6036): 383.  
  4. ^ Raju, T. N. (1999). "The Nobel chronicles. 1972: Gerald M Edelman (b 1929) and Rodney R Porter (1917-85)". Lancet 354 (9183): 1040.  
  5. ^ Porter, R. R. (1991). "Lecture for the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine 1972: Structural studies of immunoglobulins. 1972". Scandinavian journal of immunology 34 (4): 381–389.  
  6. ^ Hein, H. (1973). "Nobel price for medicine 1972". Fortschritte der Medizin 91 (4): 167.  
  7. ^ Datta, R. K.; Datta, B. (1973). "Nobel Prize winners in Medicine (1972)". Journal of the Indian Medical Association 60 (1): 17–18.  
  8. ^ Schlesinger, M. (1973). "The 1972 Nobel prize for medicine, G.M. Adelman and R.R. Porter". Harefuah 84 (1): 41.  
  9. ^ Harboe, M. (1972). "Nobel prize for immunoglobulin research". Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening : tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke 92 (34): 2363–2365.  
  10. ^ Peterson, P. A. (1972). "1972 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine. The chemical structure of antibodies". Lakartidningen 69 (44): 5069–5073.  
  11. ^ Chedd, G. (1973). "Nobel prize for medicine in 1972". Orvosi hetilap 114 (8): 451–452.  

Further reading

  • Kyle, R A; Shampo M A (November 2000). "R.R. Porter—the 4-chain structure of immunoglobulin G".  
  • "Proceedings of the International Symposium on "The role and significance of international cooperation in the biomedical sciences." Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Rodney R. Porter. Washington, D.C., September 21–23, 1983". Perspect. Biol. Med. 29 (3 Pt 2): S1–229. 1986.  
  • Small, P A (1985). "Rod Porter: his gifts to a young scientist". Biosci. Rep. 5 (10–11): 969–71.  
  • Pasternak, C A (1985). "Rodney Robert Porter". Biosci. Rep. 5 (10–11): 809–13.  
  • Pasternak, Charles A. (1985). "Special issue in memory of Rodney Porter". Biosci. Rep. 5 (10–11): 809–1014.  

External links

  • Britannica Information
  • Nobel Prize Biography
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