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William Erwin Paul was a major contributor to the development of modern immunology. He helped to transform cytokine biology, the study of small proteins involved in cell signalling, from crude assessments of uncharacterized cellular 'factors' into a science involving precise quantitative molecular analyses. He also elucidated the mechanisms controlling the production of antibodies — proteins that recognize and bind to specific antigens such as bacteria and viruses — and provided insights into how antigens are recognized by T cells, a type of white blood cell.
Ronald N. Germain
Paul, who died on 18 September, was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. He prided himself on the fact that his higher education was at public rather than private institutions. He obtained his undergraduate degree in 1956 from Brooklyn College and his medical degree in 1960 from the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center, also in Brooklyn. While at medical school, he married Marilyn Heller.
During a two-year medical residency at Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals (now Boston Medical Center), Paul worked on amyloidosis, a rare disease that occurs when a protein called amyloid builds up in tissues. This led to his first paper, in Nature. More than 600 publications would follow./.../