Share Nobel Prize in Medicine

Share Nobel Prize in Medicine

Share Nobel Prize in Medicine

Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbach and Michael Young have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm".

The trio won the award for their 'discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm'. "Over the course of his career, he has maintained an infectious enthusiasm for science and has demonstrated a boldness in questioning and challenging dogma and established views".

Beginning in the 1980s, the three researchers isolated and characterised a gene in fruit flies, period, that encodes a protein that builds up each night, only to be broken down the following day.

Michael Young (centre) and Michael Rosbash (right) have been recognized for their work on circadian clocks. Thanks to some tinkering and peering into the ubiquitous Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly's genetics, they figured out some of the genes and proteins responsible for making your clock tick. Among other discoveries, this work recently identified a common mutation that slows the human biological clock.

To better understand the inner workings of this clock, the team made a decision to focus on fruit flies. And mismatches between the clock and the environment, for instance as a result of jet lag or shift work, have been shown to play a role in mood disorders and even cancer risk.

Foster, who has long worked in the area of circadian rhythms, believes this research could provide the platform to help those with degenerative diseases as well as blindness and schizophrenia.


His interest in circadian rhythms was sparked by a friendship.

Hall continued research in Benzer's lab until 1974, when he took a faculty position at Brandeis University, where he stayed for more than three decades.

Rosbash told Swedish Radio he was rattled when the committee's call woke him from his sleep at 5:10 am. "The personal friendship was really the driving force behind the beginning of this work".

To block the period gene, PER - which is produced in the cytoplasm - would have to reach the cell nucleus, where the genetic material is located. Or more technically, it is the 24 hour internal clock running between your sleep and awake times.

What they did: Scientists had known about circadian rhythms since 1729, when astronomer Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan placed a mimosa plant into a dark room and noticed that the plant's leaves still opened and closed at the same times every day. The two scientists proposed that it was the build-up of the PER protein itself that stopped cells making more, just as wolfing down too many doughnuts dampens the desire to eat them.

They identified genes that regulate the clock, and the mechanism by which light can synchronise it.

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