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Dr. Barry Marshall, Professor of Research in U.Va.’s School of Medicine, Wins Nobel Prize For Medicine

October 4, 2005 -- The University of Virginia is celebrating the announcement that Barry Marshall, M.D., professor of Research in the School of Medicine, was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Marshall is the first current member of the University of Virginia School of Medicine faculty to be honored with a Nobel Prize.

“We congratulate Dr. Marshall for winning the Nobel Prize in medicine,” said Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine. “His work highlights the spirit of innovative and critical thinking that the UVa School of Medicine fosters.”

Marshall and pathologist Robin Warren, M.D., discovered the connection between Helicobacter pylori bacterium and peptic ulcers and gastric cancers in Australia in the early 1980s.

Marshall then spent a decade (1986-1996) at the University of Virginia as a research fellow, gastroenterologist and professor of medicine.

“It is a great thrill to be recognized in this way and it is fitting that a lot of the credit for the dissemination of the new discovery goes to faculty at UVa,” Marshall said. “In Charlottesville I was able to develop important diagnostic tests which were needed in order to implement the new discoveries.”

Since he returned to Australia, Marshall has remained on the UVa School of Medicine’s faculty as a professor of research and internal medicine.

“While he was at U.Va., (Dr.) Marshall worked to strengthen the evidence that H. Pylori is the cause of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, and other health conditions,” said Dr. Robert Carey, David A. Harrison III Distinguished Professor of Medicine and University Professor at UVa. Dr. Carey was dean at the UVa School of Medicine during Marshall’s tenure. “He had only a theory when he came here, but when he left, his findings were well accepted.”

Carey said Marshall told him in a recent conversation that he would accept the Nobel Prize on behalf of the University of Virginia and the University of Western Australia.

Marshall’s research was revolutionary, in that it changed the understanding of ulcers and gastrointestinal diseases, according to Dr. David Peura, UVa Professor of Medicine and President of the American Gastroenterological Association.

“His work was unprecedented, especially since he was a clinician and not a researcher,” Peura said. “I was treating my patients with the then traditional methods for ulcers when his work was first published and I truly did not believe it until I saw what it did for my patients.”

Peura joined the UVa School of Medicine faculty in 1990, because of his desire to work with Marshall.

“His perseverance was astounding. Most people would have abandoned their work in the face of the opposition and dismissal that he originally received,” Peura said.

The Nobel Prize for medicine is awarded by the Karolinska institute in Stockholm as stated in the will of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who founded the prestigious awards in 1895.

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