“LA JOLLA, CA — Scripps Research Professor and neurobiologist Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, has been awarded the 2020 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, a prestigious distinction presented by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and The Kavli Foundation.
“The announcement came early today during the World Science Festival in New York, where Kavli Prize winners also were named in the fields of astrophysics and nanoscience.
Patapoutian shares the neuroscience award—which includes a prize of $1 million—with co-winner David Julius, PhD, of University of California, San Francisco. Patapoutian and “Julius are recognized for their fundamental discoveries of the molecular mechanisms of touch, temperature and pain.
With today’s pronouncement, Patapoutian becomes the first Scripps Research scientist to win The Kavli Prize…
“Patapoutian discovered pressure-sensitive proteins, PIEZO1 and PIEZO2, that enable the sense of touch and underlie the function of many other tissues and cell types. This key discovery a decade ago has led to new findings that shed light on how to treat a variety of diseases, from heart failure to chronic pain. While the most impactful applications today deal with human health, the proteins Patapoutian discovered are highly conserved throughout the animal kingdom and are essential of pressure sensing in all mammals. They affect red blood cell volume, vascular physiology and underlie a broad range of human genetic disorders.
“The Kavli Prize committee notes that while the body’s mechanisms for sensing taste and light had been described, a molecular basis for how temperature and pressure are detected and encoded into electrical signals had been lacking before the discoveries of Patapoutian and Julius…”
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