AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Alfred Gilman, who won a Nobel Prize for his breakthrough research into the inner workings of cells and later left Texas’ much-ballyhooed $3 billion cancer-fighting initiative, citing a lack of oversight that led to a scandal, has died. He was 74.

Gilman was the former dean of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where colleagues said he was dedicated to solid science and an outspoken critic of subpar work. Spokesman Russell Rian said Thursday that the scientist had been fighting pancreatic cancer.

Gilman shared a 1994 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Dr. Martin Rodbell of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for their discovery of G proteins. The proteins help in the process of receiving signals from outside the cell and activating responses.

“The mechanism that he found explains how many drugs act, it explains how many hormones act and it basically explains how the body responds to its environment,” said Dr. Michael Brown, himself a Nobel laureate in 1985, who 35 years ago had the laboratory next to Gilman’s at UT Southwestern.

Brown said Thursday that, back then, he and Gilman “were drawn together not only by our love of Tanqueray and cigarettes, but because we both shared a passion for rigorous science.”