The 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine will be bestowed to American scientists David Julius, as well as Ardem Patapoutian for their “breakthroughs of receptors for temperature and touch,” a discovery which, as per the Nobel Council, recognized “crucial missing pieces” in healthcare science’s knowledge of the contact among our sensory experiences and surroundings.

Important Facts

The Nobel Committee stated in a news statement that Julius and Patapoutian’s discovery inspired more study, leading to a fast growth in “our knowledge of how our neurological system detects heat, coldness, and mechanical pressure.”

David Julius utilized capsaicin, a natural component found in chili peppers that cause burning pain, to find a heat-sensitive receptor inside skin nerve fibers.

Distinct pressure-sensitive receptors in tissues that react to sensory input in the skin or interior tissues were found by Patapoutian.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine will be the first of 6 awards that will be presented in October, honoring outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, literature, peace, as well as economics.

Shocking Fact

The Nobel Prize awardees of 2021 would get a gold medal with a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.14 million). The winnings are derived from an annuity established mostly by the prize’s founder, Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, who passed away in 1895.

Background Information

The year before, the prize went to American scientists Harvey J. Alter with Charles M. Rice, as well as British expert Michael Houghton, for discovering the Hepatitis C virus. Joseph Erlanger, Herbert Gasser were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1944 for finding various kinds of sensitive neuron fibers that respond to diverse inputs, such as reactions to violent versus non-painful contact.

Before Julius and Patapoutian’s discovery, it really was entirely unclear how heat and muscular inputs are translated into nerve currents in our nervous system, according to the Nobel Council.