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Perot Museum Gets More Nobel Prizes For Its Collection

Last year, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science accepted the donation of a Nobel Prize and the loan of a Nobel Peace Prize.

On Friday, museum leaders received four more Nobel medals.

The medals will be installed and on public display in a specially-built case that will be located in the Being Human Hall on Level 2.

Last year, Alfred Gilman donated his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and the family of the late Norman E. Borlaug donated his Nobel Peace Prize.

Medals have been awarded to only 850 Laureates and 25 organizations in the Nobel’s 112-year history, the museum said.

On Friday, the museum accepted four additions from physicians and research scientists from UT-Southwestern Medical Center: two 1985 Nobel Prize medals in Physiology or Medicine from co-recipients Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein; a 1988 Nobel Prize in Chemistry from Johann Deisenhofer; and a 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine from Bruce A. Beutler.

Physicians and scientists affiliated with UT-Southwestern have won five Nobel Prizes – and now all of those medals and the accompanying letters sent to the Laureates will be housed at the museum.

“It’s a magnificent honor for the Perot Museum to preserve, safeguard and also showcase these six Nobel Prizes,” Nicole Small, the museum’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. She hopes the medals will inspire kids to pursue careers in science.

Here are details about the Nobel winners:

  • Brown and Goldstein shared the 1985 Nobel Prize for their discovery of the underlying mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism. Their findings led to the development of statin drugs, the cholesterol-lowering compounds that today are used by 16 million Americans and are the most widely prescribed medications in the United States, the Perot Museum said.

  • Deisenhofer’s Nobel-winning research used X-ray crystallography to elucidate for the first time the three-dimensional structure of a large membrane-bound protein molecule. This structure helped explain the process of photosynthesis, by which sunlight is converted to chemical energy.

  • Beutler, director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for their immune system investigations. Beutler was honored for the discovery of receptor proteins that recognize disease-causing agents and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body's immune response. The discovery triggered an explosion of research in innate immunity, opening up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.