Alfred Gilman is born to his parents Alfred, a chemistry professor at Yale, and Mabel Schmidt Gilman, a pianist, in New Haven, Connecticut. He has an elder sister named Joanna.

In 1963 Alfred Gilman and Kathryn Hedlund, who met at Yale, get married. They have two daughters, Amy and Anne, and a son named Theodore.

Alfred Gilman discovers the G-protein, a protein, which has a key position in the signal transduction between receptor and second-messenger systems. It´s named "G"-protein because it binds guanine nucleotides.

Alfred Gilman works with Marshall Nirenberg on cyclic AMP at the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics of the National Institute of General Medical Science from 1969 to 1971.

Alfred Gilman earns his Bachelors degree in Biochemistry from Yale University in 1962. He conducts his own research at the laboratory of Melvin Simpson.

Alfred Gilman becomes Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia in 1971. In 1973 he becomes Associate Professor and gets the position as Professor in 1977.

Spending his childhood in White Plains, a suburb of New York City, Alfred Gilman is sent by his parents to The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, in 1955.

Since 1981 Alfred Gilman serves as the chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Texas Medical Center at Dallas. In 1995 he is appointed Regental Professor at Dallas. He edits the textbook of Pharmacology "Goodman´s and Gilman´s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics", which was first published by his father in 1941. In 2005 he becomes the Dean of the Southwestern Medical School.

Alfred Gilman is along with Martin Rodbell awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for heir discovery of G-proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells.

Alfred Gilman publishes his first two papers in summer of 1962, when he´s working at Burroughs Wellcome in New York. In the fall of 1962 he enters a combined MD-PhD program at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He studies there under Earl Sutherland and graduates in 1969.