Harald zur Hausen

zur Hausen, Harald, 1936–, German virologist, M.D. Univ. of Düsseldorf, 1960. He was a researcher at the Univ. of Würzburg, Germany (1968–72), chairman of the Institute of Clinical Virology, Erlangen-Nürnberg (1972–77), chairman of the Institute of Virology, Univ. of Freiburg (1977–83), and scientific director of the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg (1983–2003). With Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier, zur Hausen shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering two viruses that cause severe diseases in humans. Zur Hausen was cited for his 1974 discovery that the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. He went on to identify the primary strains of the virus that carry the disease, which led to the development of a vaccine. His findings were initially met with skepticism because the common belief at the time was that the herpes simplex virus caused cervical cancer.

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