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Bengt I. Samuelsson, Ph.D.

Bengt I. Samuelsson
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1982

Adapted from the Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures: The Nobel Prizes 1982, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1983

Bengt Samuelsson was born in Halmstad, Sweden, on May 21, 1934 to Anders and Kristina Samuelsson. After attending public schools he studied medicine at the University of Lund where he met his wife Karin. They have one son (Bo) and two daughters (Elisabet and Astrid). After a few years in Lund he moved to Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in order to do graduate work in biochemistry in parallel with medical studies. In 1960 he finished his dissertation and became docent in medical chemistry. A year later he also obtained an MD degree from Karolinska Institutet. After a year as research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University, he returned to Karolinska Institutet. In 1967 he was appointed professor of medical chemistry at the Royal Veterinary College in Stockholm, and after a few years moved back to Karolinska Institutet to become professor and chairman of the department of physiological chemistry. Concurrently with his research positions he also held administrative posts. He was dean of the medical faculty from 1978 to 1983, and is presently rector of Karolinska Institutet. His research interests were originally in cholesterol metabolism with emphasis on reaction mechanisms. After the structural work on prostaglandins with Sune Bergström in 1959-1962 he has mainly been interested in transformation products of arachidonic acid. This led to the discovery of endoperoxides, thromboxanes and the leukotrienes, and his group has mainly been involved in studying the chemistry, biochemistry and biology of these compounds and their role in biological control systems. This research has implications in several clinical areas, particularly in thrombosis, inflammation and allergy.


  • Assistant professor of medical chemistry, Karolinska Institutet 1961-1966
  • Research fellow, Department of Chemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A., 1961-1962
  • Professor of medical chemistry, Royal Veterinary College, Stockholm, Sweden, 1967-1972
  • Professor of medical and physiological chemistry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, 1973-
  • Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, 1973-
  • Visiting professor in chemistry, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A., spring term 1976
  • Dean of the Medical Faculty, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, July 1, 1978 - June 30, 1983
  • Rector of Karolinska Institutet, July 1, 1983 - Jun 30, 1995

Memberships, Awards and Honors

  • Swedish Medical Association's Jubilee Award, Stockholm, Sweden (1968)
  • Anders Jahres Award, Oslo University, Oslo, Norway (1970)
  • Louisa Gross Horwitz Award, Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. (1975)
  • Honorary Member American Society of Biological Chemists (1976)
  • Intrascience Medalist, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A. (1976)
  • Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, New York, U.S.A. (1977)
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (1978)
  • Ciba Geigy Drew Award in Biomedical Research, Madison, New Jersey, U.S A. (1980)
  • Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1981)
  • Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award in Basic Medical Research, Brandeis University, Boston, Mass., U.S.A. (1981)
  • Swedish Medical Association's Jubilee Award, Stockholm, Sweden (1981)
  • The Gairdner Foundation Award, Toronto, Canada (1981)
  • Heinrich Wieland Prize, Munich, West Germany (1981)
  • The Bror Holmberg Medal of the Swedish Chemical Society (1982)
  • Honorary Member Association of American Physicians (1982)
  • Member of the Mediterranean Academy, Catania, Italy (1982)
  • Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1982)
  • American Chemical Society Division of Medical Chemistry Award (1982)
  • Waterford Bio-Medical Science Award, La Jolla, California, U.S.A. (1982)
  • International Association of Allergology & Clinical Immunology Award, London, Great Britian (1982)
  • Honorary Member, Swedish Medical Association, Stockholm, Sweden (1982)
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, University of Illinois, U.S.A. (1983)

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