Physiologist Dr. David Julius (65) has won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of mechanisms that enable human beings to sense heat, cold, touch, and their own bodily movements. Dr. Julius shares the award with 54-year-old neuroscientist Dr. Ardem Patapoutian (not Jewish), who independently pursued the same field of research. Dr. Julius is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Partapoutian is a professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Neuroscience. The monetary prize that accompanies the award is approximately $1,145,000.
Quote: “The biggest hurdle in Dr. Julius’s work was how to comb through a library of millions of DNA fragments encoding different proteins in the sensory neurons to find the one that reacts to capsaicin, the key component in chili peppers. The solution was to introduce those genes into cells that do not normally respond to capsaicin until one was discovered that made the cells capable of reacting.”
— The New York Times
Sources: Wikipedia (introduction), The New York Times (quotation)
Learn more about David Julius from Wikipedia. ►
Read “How chili peppers helped Nobel Prize winners understand how we feel heat” ►
Read “Nobel Prize Awarded for Research About Temperature and Touch” ►
Watch “UCSF professor holds news conference after winning Nobel Prize for Medicine” [31:43]. ►
Photo of Dr. David Julius: Chicago Sun-Times
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