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Dr. Baruj Benacerraf(

Each Thursday, we select the most interestingly Jewish obituary from the past week. This week we salute Dr. Baruj Benacerraf, the Nobel Prize-winning immunologist—rejected from every medical school he applied to in the 1940s and finally admitted to the Medical College of Virginia as one of three Jewish (and two Hispanic) students in a class of 80—who died August 2 at the age of 90.

Born in 1920 to Sephardic Jews in Venezuela, Benacerraf luckily declined to join the family business as a textile merchant. The asthmatic immunologist would later discover why certain immune systems were better suited than others to ward off infections and why people had varying risks of contracting autoimmune diseases—a groundbreaking discovery resulting from a different experiment gone wrong.

Baruj Benacerraf, Nobel Winner in Medicine, Dies at 90

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