Sir John Vane

Sir John Robert Vane FRS 1927–2004
Awarded (jointly) the Nobel Prize for Medicine 1982

  • British pharmacologist
  • Graduated from Birmingham in 1947 with a BSc in Chemistry and moved to Oxford to study Pharmacology and obtain a DPhil; he was awarded a DSc in Chemistry in 1984
  • Knighted for his contribution to science

Known for his work with aspirin and related painkillers, Sir John Robert Vane –

  • Worked with aspirin and the prostaglandin group of biochemical compounds
  • Discovered prostacyclin and the behaviour of anti-inflammatory compounds such as aspirin in blocking the formation of prostaglandins and thromboxanes
  • Pioneered the development of new treatments for heart disease
  • Pioneered new drugs to relieve pain, inflammation and blood pressure

It was the experimental side of science that led to his development of the cascade superfusion bioassay technique, which was a significant step not only in the research that led to his Nobel Prize but to the wider benefit of biochemistry experimentation.

After 12 years as Group Research and Development Director of the Wellcome Foundation, Sir John established the William Harvey Research Institute at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in 1986. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, among other fellowships, and received numerous awards including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.