Lawrence Steinman attended public schools in Culver City California. He then attended Dartmouth College, receiving a BA in physics, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1968. He then attended Harvard Medical School graduating in 1973.
Steinman did an internship and residency in neurology at Stanford University Hospital. From 1974 to 1977 he was a post-doctoral fellow with Prof Michael Sela in the Dept of Chemical Immunology at the Weizmann Institute receiving an NIH postdoctoral Fellowship. He is Board Certified in Neurology and Psychiatry. He is Senior Attending Physician at Stanford, and is the Zimmerman Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology. From 2002-2011 he served as the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Immunology Program. He received numerous teaching awards during this time, particularly for his course on the Brain and the Immune System.
Steinman served in 2014-2015 on the IOM-NAS panel on Considerations for Designing an Epidemiologic Study for Multiple Sclerosis and Other Neurologic Disorders in Pre and Post 9/11 Gulf War Veterans.
Steinman has received numerous honors: From 1988 to 2002 he received two Sen. Jacob Javits awards from NINDS. In 1994 he won the Fredrich Sasse Prize from the Free University of Berlin. In 2004 he won the Dystel Prize from the National MS Society. In 2008 he received an Honorary Doctorate from Hasselt University.
In 2009 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine.
In 2011 he won the Charcot Prize for Lifetime Achievement in MS research from the International Federation of MS Societies.
In 2015 he received the Cerami Prize in Translational Medicine. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.
In 2015 he became the first neuroimmunologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Steinman served on the Board of Directors at Centocor from 1989 until its sale to Johnson and Johnson. Steinman co-founded several biotech companies including
Neurocrine Biosciences, Atreca, Tolerion, and Katexco Pharma.