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Gustav Nossal

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Title: Gustav Nossal  
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Subject: Clonal selection, List of Australian of the Year Award recipients, Peter Cosgrove, Richard Casey, Baron Casey, Frank Macfarlane Burnet
Collection: 1931 Births, Albert Einstein World Award of Science Laureates, Australian Academics, Australian Biologists, Australian Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, Australian Fellows of the Royal Society, Australian Immunologists, Australian Knights, Australian Knights Bachelor, Australian Living Treasures, Australian of the Year Award Winners, Australian People of Austrian-Jewish Descent, Australian Roman Catholics, Australian Scientists, Austrian Emigrants to Australia, Austrian Refugees, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, Companions of the Order of Australia, Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science, Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Fellows of the Royal Society, Foreign Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy, Knights Bachelor, Living People, Members of the French Academy of Sciences, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, People Educated at St Aloysius' College (Sydney), People from Bad Ischl, People Who Emigrated to Escape Nazism, Recipients of the Centenary Medal, Sydney Medical School Alumni, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Alumni
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gustav Nossal

Sir Gustav Nossal
Nossal at the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists, 2007
Born Gustav Victor Joseph Nossal
(1931-06-04) 4 June 1931
Bad Ischl, Austria
Citizenship Australia
Nationality Australian, formerly Austrian
Fields Immunology
Institutions The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne
Alma mater The University of Sydney
Known for His contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance
Influences Macfarlane Burnet
Influenced Jacques Miller
Notable awards Albert Einstein World Award of Science (1990)

Sir Gustav Victor Joseph Nossal, ACCBE (born 4 June 1931) is a distinguished Australian research biologist. He is famous for his contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Religious beliefs 2
  • Career 3
  • Awards and recognition 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Nossal's family was from Vienna, Austria. He was born four weeks prematurely in Bad Ischl while his mother was on holiday. His family left their home town of Vienna for Australia in 1939 following Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria. As his father's grandparents were Jewish, he was also considered Jewish and at risk of being sent to concentration camps. In an interview with Adam Spencer, Nossal noted that his father "wasn't actually Jewish. He was of Jewish extraction, but baptised as a child and he therefore thought that he would be somewhat protected from the Holocaust-type situations. Of course, he hadn't properly read Mein Kampf. It was all spelt out there: if your four grandparents were Jewish, then you were Jewish."[1] He was baptised and remains a practising Roman Catholic.[2]

When he first attended school in Australia, Nossal spoke no English[3] but he graduated from St Aloysius' College in 1947[4] as the dux of the College.[5] In 1948, he entered the Sydney Medical School, graduating later with first-class honours. At the age of 26, he left his job in Sydney and moved to Melbourne to work with Macfarlane Burnet in medical science at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and gained his Ph.D. degree in 1960.

Religious beliefs

On describing his views on religion Nossal said:


Following the retirement of Macfarlane Burnet in 1965, at the age of 35 Nossal became director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, a position that he kept until 1996. In parallel, he was Professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne. Nossal's research is in fundamental immunology, in the field of "antibody formation and immunological tolerance".[6] He has written five books and 530 scientific articles in this and related fields.

Nossal has been President (1986-1989) of the 30,000-member world body of immunology, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Children's Vaccine Program (1998-2003). He was Deputy Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation from 1998 to 2000. He is Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Global Foundation,[7] The purpose of the foundation is to "encourage Australia’s sustainable national development in a global context." Sir Gustav is a member of the Patrons Council of the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria and of the Advisory Board of the Health Impact Fund.

Awards and recognition

See also


  1. ^ Spencer, Adam (2009-11-12). "The World in Sydney — Sir Gustav Nossal — ABC Sydney — Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "Nossal, Sir Gustav Joseph Victor — Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive". Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Cincotta, Liz (19 June 2008). "Passage to Australia". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Middleton, Chris (4 March 2011). "The Principal" (PDF). The Gonzagon (Weekly Newsletter of St Aloysius' College). p. 2. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Sir Gustav Nossal | The Nossal High School". 4 June 1931. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Biographical entry — Nossal, Gustav Joseph Victor (1931 - )". Bright Sparcs. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  7. ^ "Our Members: Office bearers". The Global Foundation. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "NOSSAL, Gustav Joseph Victor: The Order of the British Empire — Commander (Civil)". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  9. ^ "NOSSAL, Gustav Joseph Victor: Knight Bachelor". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 1977. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  10. ^ "The ANZAAS Medal". ANZAAS. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  11. ^ "NOSSAL, Gustav Joseph Victor: Companion of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 12 June 1989. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  12. ^ "Albert Einstein World Award of Science 1990". Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "SVI Patron - Gustav JV Nossal". St Vincents Institute. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Gustav Nossal – Virology Down Under". University of Queensland. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  15. ^  
  16. ^ "NOSSAL, Gustav: Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  17. ^ "Previous Legends". Stamp collections. Australia Post. 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "The Nossal Institute for Global Health". The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 

External links

  • Short biography
  • Gustav Nossal – Virology Down Under
  • 1987 interview and 1998 interview on the Australian Academy of Science website.
  • The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization—a millennial challenge
  • Liz Cincotta. "Passage to Australia". The Age, 19 June 2008.
  • Video of Gustav Nossal lecture on The 50-Year Revolution in Global Public Health, Sydney University, July 2008
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