César Milstein was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, 8 October 1927, the son of Lázaro and Máxima Milstein. He was educated at the Colegio Nacional, Bahia Blanca, 1939-44, at secondary school in Buenos Aires, and at the University of Buenos Aires, 1945-52. He also worked part-time at the Laboratorios Liebeschutz to fund his studies. He married Celia Prilleltensky in 1953.
He travelled for a year in Europe with his new wife, 1953-4. He studied for a PhD at the Instituto de Quimica Biologica at the University of Buenos Aires, 1954-7, and then joined the staff of the Instituto Nacional de Microbiología, Buenos Aires, 1958. He won a British Council travelling scholarship and chose to study for a PhD in the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University, 1958-61. He returned briefly to Argentina as the first head of the Division de Biologia Molecular at the Instituto Nacional de Microbiología, Buenos Aires, 1961-3. Political unrest in Argentina led him to seek a post in Cambridge again and he joined the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, 1963. He remained there until his retirement in 1995, and was successively Head of the Protein Chemistry Subdivision, 1969-80, Joint Head of the Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, 1981-95, and Deputy Director of the Laboratory, 1988-95. His work concentrated on immunology, in particular the structure of antibody proteins and the genetic study of antibody diversification.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine jointly with Georges Köhler and Niels Jerne, 1984, for the discovery of monoclonal antibodies. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, 1975; created Companion of Honour, 1995; and awarded the Medical Research Council's first Millennium Medal, 2000.
He died in 2002.
Papers including correspondence and research notes.
Including some correspondence of his wife, Celia Milstein, to 2003.
The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Celia Milstein, 2003, 2006 and 2012, and deposited after cataloguing by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists (NCUACS), 2006.
The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required. Some items in sections B, C, E and H are closed and closures are marked in the catalogue.
Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holder and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, The Papers of César Milstein, MSTN
See also an online exhibition on Milstein on the What is Biotechnology website, http://www.whatisbiotechnology.org/exhibitions/milstein.
Copies of the full catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, on the A2A website, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/, and the National Register of Archives, London. An index of correspondents is included with the catalogue.
This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, April 2006. The papers were catalogued by NCUACS. Biographical information was obtained from the website of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.