Art And Culture

Nobel Medicine Prize for Work on Circadian Rhythm

Nobel Medicine Prize for Work on Circadian Rhythm Nobel Medicine Prize for Work on Circadian Rhythm

Nobel Prize in medicine is awarded to three Americans for work on circadian rhythm, a roughly 24 hour biological cycle in the physiological processes of living beings.

The prize was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for discovery of ‘clock gene’. They were announced recipients of the award on October 2 for their work on molecular mechanisms that control circadian systems, news outlets reported.

Hall was born in New York, Rosbash in Kansas City, and they both worked at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Michael Young was born in Miami and worked at Rockefeller University in New York.

In announcing the winner in Stockholm on Monday, the prize committee said the men elucidated how a life-form’s “inner clock” can fluctuate to optimize our behavior and physiology. Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.

Working with fruit flies, the scientists isolated a gene that is responsible for a protein that accumulates in the night but is degraded in the day. Misalignments in this clock may result in medical conditions and disorders, as well as the temporary disorientation of jet lag that travelers experience when crisscrossing time zones.

The medicine Nobel is notoriously hard to predict. In fact, during a press conference where the awards were announced, a member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute said that when he informed Rosbash that he had received the award his response was, “You are kidding me.”

In recent years, the Nobel in medicine has been awarded for breakthroughs in a diverse range of work in human biology: a Japanese scientist who discovered a key mechanism in human body’s defense system that involves recycling parts of cells and plays an important role in cancer; a trio who worked on treatments for river blindness and malaria; and researchers who deciphered the brain’s ‘GPS’ that allows humans to orient themselves in space.

The Nobel Prize in physics will be announced October 3, the chemistry award on Oct. 4, and the peace prize Oct. 6. The date of the literature Nobel will be announced soon.

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