The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in conjunction Monday with David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian “for their achievement of warmth and touch.”
Their work highlights techniques to reduce chronic and severe pain associated with a wide range of ailments, disorders and their treatment.
“Our ability to feel heat, cold and touch is vital to our survival and strengthens our relationship with the world around us,” the Nobel committee said in a press release. “In our daily lives we take these feelings for granted, but how do the desires of the nerves are initiated to make warmth and pressure manifest?”
This question, the committee said, has now been resolved.
Why did they win?
They both made successful discoveries that initiated extensive research activities that eventually led to a rapid increase in our understanding that our intelligence system feels hot, cold and electrical stimuli. The winners showed selective inaccuracies in our understanding of the complexities associated with our environment.
In particular, Drs. Julius used capsaicin, a disgusting beverage from the pepper that causes a burning sensation, to see the sensation in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat.
Dr. Patapoutian used compression cells to obtain a class of several signals that respond to disruptive processes in the skin and internal organs.
Why is the work important?
The Nobel Committee noted that two scientists have been able to answer a number of important questions about human nature: How do we feel about our community?
“The processes under our eyes have caused thousands of years of curiosity, for example, how light is detected by the eyes, sound waves that affect our inner ears, and how different chemicals interact with those received in the nose and mouth that produce aroma and taste,” the committee wrote.
In the 17th century, philosopher René Descartes proposed a series of filaments that combined different parts of the skin with a brain. That way, when the flame touches the foot, a signal is sent to the brain. Subsequent research found that sensory neurons record changes in our environment.
In 1944, Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Gasser received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to discover different types of nerve endings that respond to different stimuli, for example, in response to painful and painless handling.
But an important question remains. How are temperatures and electrical currents converted to make electrical impulses in the nervous system?
The work of Drs. Julius and Drs. Patapoutian, for the first time, allows us to understand how heat, cold and mechanical energy can create nerve impulses that allow us to see and adjust the world around us.
Their work, the committee said, has already encouraged intensive research into the development of treatments for a wide range of ailments, including chronic pain.
Dr. Julius is a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. In the 1990’s, his research into the chemical composition of capsaicin modified the way that scientists understand the heat produced by this pepper. With a team of collaborators, he created a library with millions of pieces of DNA that are reflected in sensory neurons in response to pain, heat and touch.
Dr. Patapoutian is a molecular biologist and neuroscientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., Which “focuses on detecting and displaying ion channels and other sensors that transmit mechanical signals to chemical signals,” according to the central website.
He received a Ph.D. his. at the California Institute of Technology in 1996 and graduated from postgraduate studies at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining the Scripps Research team in 2000. She was awarded the National Academy of Sciences in 2017, and in 2020 was selected to the American Academy of Sciences and Sciences.
In 2020, Drs. Julius and Drs. Patapoutian received the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, which is run by the Norwegian government, for their protein research that helps the body detect stress.
Who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in medicine?
Dr. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice received the award for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
Who else won the Nobel Prize in science in 2020?
When will the other Nobel prizes be announced?
There are two other scientific rewards. Physics will be announced Tuesday, and Chemistry on Wednesday, both in Stockholm.
Prizes in Literature will be announced in Stockholm on Thursday. Read about last year’s winner, Louise Glück.
The Nobel Peace Prize Award will be announced Friday in Oslo. Read about the winner last year, the World Food Program.
The Nobel laureate in economics will be announced in Stockholm on October 11. Last year’s award was shared by Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson.