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Stanford University School of Medicine

Stanford visiting professor and founder of kidney-exchange program wins Nobel economics prize

Speaking of the Nobels, Alvin Roth, PhD, a Stanford alum and visiting professor who will become a full Stanford faculty member at the start of 2013, and Lloyd Shapley, PhD, a professor emeritus at UC-Los Angeles, have been named winners of the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

An article in today's Stanford Report highlights the health-care applications of Roth's work:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the researchers' contributions to "the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design" in naming them for the $1.2 million prize.

Roth... is a pioneer in the field of game theory and experimental economics and in their application to the design of new economic institutions. As one of the first "microeconomic engineers," Roth has redesigned the market for kidney exchange, the organization that matches medical residents with hospitals, public school choice systems and a variety of other institutions.

Roth's design of the New England Program for Kidney Exchange represents [one example of a] large-scale, practical application of matching theory. In many cases, a healthy person would like to donate a kidney to a friend or loved one, but is medically incompatible. With paired kidney donation, however, that incompatible donor-recipient pair can trade their kidney to another mutually incompatible pair, while obtaining the kidney they need in return. The practice greatly increases the number of compatible kidneys available to a patient.

A press conference with Roth will be held at Stanford at 10 AM Pacific time and will be streamed live on the university's YouTube channel.

Previously: Memorable moments from Brian Kobilka’s Nobel win captured on Storify, Image of the Week: Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka celebrates with colleagues and friends, A busy morning for Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka and Stanford’s Brian Kobilka wins 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Photo by L.A. Cicero

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