Semenza, Gregg Leonard

Semenza, Gregg Leonard, 1956–, American oncologist and molecular biologist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1984. Semenza has spent his entire career at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Peter Ratcliffe and William Kaelin for identifying the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, a discovery that laid the basis of the development of new therapies for conditions including anemia, stroke, cancer infection and heart attack. Semenza and Ratcliffe separately discovered that all cells can recognize when oxygen levels drop. Semenza identified hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a protein complex essential to the production of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone involved in the body's ability to respond to low oxygen levels in the blood, and Ratcliffe's research showed that cells constantly produce HIF and also identified the mechanism by which cells regulate HIF levels and, thus, the production of EPO.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Medicine: Biographies