Joseph L. Goldstein was born on April 18, 1940, in Kingstree, South Carolina. Goldstein attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1962. He then attended Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas after receiving the M.D. degree in 1966. Following graduation, Goldstein became an intern and resident in medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (1966-68). From 1968 to 1970, he worked at the National Institutes of Health. The next two years Goldstein served as a Special NIH Fellow in Medical Genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
In 1972, Goldstein returned to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas. There he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and head of the medical school's first Division of Medical Genetics. In 1974, he was appointed Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and promoted to Professor in 1976. In 1977, he was selected Chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas and Paul J. Thomas Professor of Medicine and Genetics.
In 1985, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (together with Michael Stuart Brown) for his research, and has won numerous other awards for his contributions that help with hereditary diseases.
National Academy of Sciences (1980)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Association of American Physicians
American Society for Clinical Investigation (President, 1985-86)
American Society of Biological Chemists
American Society of Human Genetics
American Society for Cell Biology
American Federation for Clinical Research (National Council, 1979-82)
Heinrich Wieland Prize for Research in Lipid Metabolism (1974)
Pfizer Award for Enzyme Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (1976)
Albion O. Bernstein Award of the New York State Medical Society (1977)
Passano Award (1978)
Lounsbery Award of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1979)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (1981)
New York Academy of Sciences Award in Biological and Medical Sciences (1981)
Lita Annenberg Hazen Award (1982)
V.D. Mattia Award of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology (1984)
Distinguished Research Award of the Association of American Medical Colleges (1984)
Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association (1984)
Louisa Gross Horwitz Award (1984)
3M Life Sciences Award of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (1985)
William Allan Award of the American Society for Human Genetics (1985)
Albert D. Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research (1985)
The following press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences describes Goldstein's work:
Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein have through their discoveries revolutionized our knowledge about the regulation of cholesterol metabolism and the treatment of diseases caused by abnormally elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. They found that cells on their surfaces have receptors which mediate the uptake of the cholesterol-containing particles called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that circulate in the blood stream. Brown and Goldstein have discovered that the underlying mechanism to the severe hereditary familial hypercholesterolemia is a complete, or partial, lack of functional LDL-receptors. In normal individuals the uptake of dietary cholesterol inhibits the cells own synthesis of cholesterol. As a consequence the number of LDL-receptors on the cell surface is reduced. This leads to increased levels of cholesterol in the blood which subsequently may accumulate in the wall of arteries causing atherosclerosis and eventually a heart attack or a stroke. Brown and Goldstein's discoveries have lead to new principles for treatment, and prevention, of atherosclerosis.