UW-Madison graduate earns Nobel Prize


An original piece of art by newly-minted Nobelist, William C. Campbell, a UW-Madison graduate//Credit: Bruce Christensen, UW-Madison

An original piece of art by newly-minted Nobelist, William C. Campbell, a UW-Madison graduate//Credit: Bruce Christensen, UW-Madison

You may have heard, but it’s worth saying again: A UW-Madison graduate is a recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

William C. Campbell earned both his masters and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison before going to work for pharmaceutical giant Merck, where he co-discovered a drug now used to treat parasites that cause tropical diseases like river blindness and elephantiasis. The drug also led to the discovery of similar compounds used to treat and prevent veterinary diseases like heartworm.

“Ivermectin is absolutely critical to the effort to control these diseases and has helped millions of people in the developing world,” according to Bruce Christensen, a UW-Madison parasitologist who helped prepare materials in support of a UW-Madison honorary degree awarded to Campbell in 2005. “The populations that needed this drug the most are in some of the most destitute regions of the world.”

What does the mug above have to do with any of this?

Apparently Campbell’s days at UW-Madison were spent doing more than just scientific research. Christensen sent us this photo, a mug made by Campbell, which depicts a tapeworm. Not sure how Nobel-worthy this is, but it’s certainly unique!