The Scientist has a profile of Aaron Ciechanover, who shared the Nobel Prize for work on the proteasome. His Nobel-cited work began in his Ph.D. thesis.
In one of the physics books I was recently reading (I forget which one now, might have been How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, but I think it was Six Easy Pieces) it was mentioned that Louis de Broglie's committee wasn't sure what to do with his crazy proposal that everything has both particle and wave natures, but after consulting with Einstein awarded him his degree. Of course, this proposal withstood experimental test and led to a Nobel.
Anyone know other examples of Nobels which cite the laureate's thesis work?