Nobel: Two scientists responsible for discovering receptors that help us feel temperature and touch received the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this Monday morning (4). American scientist David Julius and Lebanese researcher Ardem Patapoutian worked independently to arrive at the results.
Julius, who is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, has done his research using capsaicin — a compound in pepper that warms your mouth — to identify a sensor in the nerve endings in your skin that can sense heat.
Patapoutian was responsible for the discovery of a new group of sensors in the body that can respond to mechanical stimuli (touch, pressure) in the skin and internal organs. Patapoutian is a scientist at Scripps Research, a medical research institute in California.
“These discoveries initiated intense research that helped us understand how our nervous system perceives heat, cold and mechanical stimuli. The laureates identified critical links in our understanding of the complex connection between our senses and the environment around us,” said the Nobel Foundation in an announcement.
The Foundation is responsible for presenting the award each year. This year, the winners in each category receive a medal, a diploma and share a prize of 10 million SEK (approximately R$6.2 million in the day’s share).
Based in Sweden, the Nobel Foundation has awarded more than 600 awards in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace efforts since 1901.