The U.S. won the 2021 Noble Prize for research in temperature and touch. Find how these researchers unlocked the mystery now.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

2021’s first Nobel Prize announcement was made on October 5th. David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the Nobel Prize in Physiology 2021 for their research on temperature and touch perception by humans.

Nobel Prize in Medicine 

While everybody thought the Nobel Prize in Physiology 2021 would be awarded to the developers of the COVID-19 vaccines. Julius and Patapoutian secured it for answering the century-old question about how we sense our environment.

David Julius

Julius is a professor at the University of California, School of Medicine, San Francisco, studying how the sensory organs perceive touch and pain. He and his colleagues study the molecular mechanisms of touch to understand how the human body responds. 

David Julius studied how the taste buds react to capsaicin, the compound that induces the burning sensation after consuming chilli peppers. He identifies the nerves that respond to this taste and how information is transmitted to the brain. He and his team, later on, discovered that the same nerve endings on the skin as well. They helped the body to respond to climatic changes.

Ardem Patapoutian

Patapoutian is a Lebanese immigrant. He is a professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the Department of Neuroscience. He studies the relation between the chemical and physical stimuli of the human body. 

Ardem Patapoutian and the team found out how the body and the internal organs respond to pain using pressure sensors. He discovered a novel class of sensors that reacted to mechanical stimuli in the organs and skin.   

Nobel Prize in Physiology or MedicineWho Was the First to Win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine?

Emil Adolf von Behring, a German physician was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of serum therapy. Serum therapy is used for the development of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines since 1901.

Humans have always adapted to the changes in the environment with their ability to sense the environmental changes. The latest findings have proved that eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin are not the only sense organs. But, the 2021 Nobel laureates research has widened the scope of this study with their research. 

Researchers say that finding the missing links will help in identifying why individuals have varying capacities of tolerance to pain and other external stimuli.