DALLAS, October 7, 2019 — The American Heart Association is pleased to announce that one of the three recipients of the 2019 Nobel Prize® in Physiology or Medicine, the most prestigious honor in the field, was an Association awarded researcher earlier in his career. Gregg L. Semenza, M.D., Ph.D. shares the Nobel prize with Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and William G. Kaelin Jr. “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability,” according to The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden. Semenza’s was recognized for his discovery of a work with a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor 1, or HIF-1, that turns genes in cells off and on in response to low oxygen levels.
Dr. Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University, has received five research grants totaling $600,000 in funding from the American Heart Association. The Association's support of his now Nobel Prize winning work on HIF-1 began in 1993.
Dr. Semenza is now the 14th researcher recognized by the Nobel committee to have received supported from the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all.
“We add our congratulations to the well-deserved accolades that Dr. Semenza and the other recipients are receiving for winning medicine’s highest honor. We are thrilled to have contributed to Dr. Semenza’s research earlier in his career,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “As a worldwide leader in cardiovascular science, funding more than any other organization outside of the federal government, funds raised at Heart Walks and Heart Balls around the country this year will fund other researchers who will uncover important, life-saving discoveries just as Dr. Semenza has done.”
The Association has funded more than $4.5 billion in cardiovascular research since it began. The AHA’s research portfolio includes a deliberate focus on supporting investigators early in their careers and has led to a long history of funding Nobel winners. Countless other top cardiovascular scientists throughout the world are linked in some way with the AHA as research recipients, council members or recipients of Association awards that recognize scientific excellence.
“The number of funded Nobel Prize recipients – 14 total - affirms the claim that we are a focal point for excellence in cardiovascular research. We could not be more thankful for the financial contributions of all the donors who have supported our research portfolio and the dedication of our funded researchers. Together, we are driving breakthroughs that are adding years to people’s lives and life to those years,” added Brown.
In 1948, the Association’s first supported research grant was awarded to 1937 Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D., of the Institute of Muscle Research in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to support fundamental studies on energy and muscles.
To learn more about other AHA funded researchers who have received a Nobel prize, please visit https://professional.heart.org/professional/ResearchPrograms/UCM_320493_Nobel-Prize-Winners.jsp.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)