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Ralph Steinman
Born (1943-01-14)January 14, 1943
Died September 30, 2011(2011-09-30) (aged 68)
Nationality Canadian
Citizenship Canadian
Alma mater McGill University
Harvard University
Known for Discovery of dendritic cells and its role in adaptive immunity
Awards 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (posthumous)
Scientific career
Fields Immunology and cell biology
Institutions Rockefeller University, New York City
Academic advisors Elizabeth Hay (Harvard)
James G. Hirsch and Zanvil A. Cohn (Rockefeller University)

Ralph Marvin Steinman (January 14, 1943 – September 30, 2011) was a Canadian immunologist and cell biologist at Rockefeller University. He studied a kind of cell in the immune system and called them dendritic cells. He made these discoveries while working in the laboratory of Zanvil A. Cohn. He was of Jewish descent.

On October 3, 2011, the Nobel Committee announced that Steinman had received one-half of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for "his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity". The other half went to Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann, for "their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity". However, the committee did not know that Steinman had died three days earlier, on September 30, from pancreatic cancer. The committee considered what to do about Steinman's prize, since the rule is that the prize is not awarded posthumously.

The committee later decided that, as the decision to award the prize "was made in good faith", they would not change the award.

Steinman's daughter said that he had joked the previous week with his family about hanging on until the prize announcement. Steinman said: "I know I have got to hold out for that. They don't give it to you if you have passed away. I got to hold out for that".

Steinman had received numerous other awards and recognitions for his life-long work on dendritic cells, such as the Albert Lasker Award (2007), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (2003), and the Cancer Research Institute William B. Coley Award (1998). In addition, he was made a member of Institute of Medicine (U.S.A.; elected 2002) and the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.; elected 2001).

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