|October 29, 1920
|August 2, 2011 (aged 90)
Medical College of Virginia
|major histocompatibility complex
|New York University
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
National Institutes of Health
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Harvard Medical School
Dana–Farber Cancer Institute
Benacerraf won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1979 for his "discovery of the major histocompatibility complex genes which encode cell surface protein molecules important for the immune system's distinction between self and non-self". He shared the prize with Jean Dausset and George Davis Snell.
He was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He was born to Sephardic Jewish parents from Morocco and Algiers. Benacerraf's brother is Paul Benacerraf, a well-known philosopher. His father was a textile merchant. In 1925, he moved from Venezuela to Paris. In 1940, after he went back to Venezuela, he emigrated to the U.S.. He earned his B.S. at Columbia University School of General Studies in 1942. Benacerraf later went to the Medical College of Virginia where he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree.