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Joseph Larner

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1909
  1. Ned Stafford, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Pharmacology chairman who held a lifelong research interest in the mechanisms of insulin activity

Six Nobel prize winners were key figures in Joseph Larner’s long medical research career, during which he helped unlock secrets of the mechanisms of insulin activity with the objective of developing better treatments for diabetes.

As a young doctoral student in the early 1950s he learnt the basics of research in the St Louis laboratory of Carl and Gerty Cori, the husband and wife team who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947. In the same lab, he was also mentored by Earl Sutherland, who won his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1971. A decade later, in the 1960s, Larner spent a sabbatical year working in the Cambridge University lab of Fred Sanger, winner of Nobel Prizes in Chemistry in 1958 and in 1980.

And in 2011, two Nobel prize winners were among hundreds of scientists, faculty colleagues, students, friends, and family who gathered at the University of Virginia School of Medicine to celebrate Larner’s 90th birthday. …

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