The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021
Leo Sher, M.D.
American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch (1).
The Nobel Committee states that “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” (1).
David Julius was born on November 4, 1955, in a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York (1,2). He received his undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. David Julius received a Ph.D. in 1984 from University of California, Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York. David Julius became a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco in 1989 where he is now Professor.
Ardem Patapoutian was born on October 2, 1967, in an Armenian family in Beirut, Lebanon (1,3). He attended the American University of Beirut for a year before emigrating to the USA in 1986. Ardem Patapoutian received a Ph.D. in 1996 from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. Since 2000, Ardem Patapoutian is a scientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California where he is now Professor. Also, Ardem Patapoutian is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 2014.
Physiology or medicine was the third prize area Alfred Nobel stated in his will. The Nobel Prize has been awarded since 1901.
- Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021. URL: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2021/press-release/
- Hanau S. Scientist David Julius, whose grandparents fled antisemitism in Czarist Russia, wins Nobel Prize in medicine. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 4, 2021. URL: https://www.jta.org/2021/10/04/united-states/scientist-david-julius-whose-grandparents-fled-antisemitism-in-czarist-russia-wins-nobel-prize-in-medicine
- Scripps Research neurobiologist Ardem Patapoutian elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Scripps Research, April 30, 2020. URL: https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2020/20200430-patapoutian-academy.html