David Julius, Ardem Patapoutian jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine
David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian jointly won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch. This is the first announcement of the 2021 Nobel Prize, and the honors for other disciplines will follow in the coming days. The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). Here are more details.
According to the Nobel Assembly, David Julius utilized capsaicin, a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat. Ardem Patapoutian used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs, it added.
The discoveries by the Nobel laureates explained how heat, cold, and touch can initiate signals in our nervous system. "Intensive ongoing research originating from this year's Nobel Prize awarded discoveries focuses on elucidating their functions in a variety of physiological processes." "This knowledge is being used to develop treatments for a range of disease conditions, including chronic pain," it noted.
Praising the laureates' work, the Nobel Academy said in a statement, "These breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities leading to a rapid increase in our understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli." "The laureates identified critical missing links in our understanding of the complex interplay between our senses and the environment," it added.
The Nobel Prize for Physics will be announced on Tuesday, Chemistry on Wednesday, Literature on Thursday, and the Nobel Prize for Peace will be announced on Friday. The prize for Economics will be announced on October 11.