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Goldstein, Joseph Leonard

Nobel Prize recipient Joseph Goldstein was born on April 18, 1940, in Sumter, SC. Goldstein attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1962. He then attended Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. From 1966 to 1968 he did his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed by two years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He served as a postdoctoral fellow in medical genetics at the University of Washington until 1972.

Although you may not be familiar with Goldstein's name, it is likely that his research has changed your daily food choices. Goldstein made important discoveries about a fatty substance called cholesterol. Goldstein and his colleague Michael Stuart Brown revolutionized scientific understanding of how cholesterol can accumulate in arteries, increasing the risk of strokes or heart attacks.

Goldstein and Browns’ research into cholesterol metabolism led to the discovery that human cells have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that extract cholesterol from the bloodstream. The lack of sufficient LDL receptors is a major cause of cholesterol-related diseases.

Goldstein and Brown shared the 1985 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their research and discoveries.