ASBMB Nobel Prize Winners

1985 – Joseph L. Goldstein



Joseph Leonard Goldstein (1940 - present), along with Michael S. Brown, was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their elucidation of the process of cholesterol metabolism in the human body. Goldstein and Brown began a concerted study of the processes that affect the accumulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream and discovered that low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are primary cholesterol-carrying particles, are withdrawn from the bloodstream into the body's cells by receptors on the cells' surface. The absence of these LDL receptors was found to be the cause of familial hypercholesterolemia, a disorder in which the body's tissues are incapable of removing cholesterol from the bloodstream. The new understanding of how cell receptors regulate cholesterol levels in the bloodstream spurred the successful use of drugs and changes in diet to lower blood cholesterol levels.