Stanley Prusiner is a neurologist and biochemist who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery of prions. Prions are the infectious self-producing pathogens responsible for degenerative diseases of the brain. Stanley’s research deals with BSE, or mad cow disease, and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease — along with other related diseases.
His initial prion hypothesis, which he published in 1982, was met with a torrent of criticism. However, by the early 1990s the scientific community began to accept the existence of prions. His work is now acknowledged as having had a profound effect on the future of biomedical research, revolutionising our thinking on the biology of transmissible and neurodegenerative diseases.