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Science

American Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Chemistry 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-for-cooking-meth dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "Two Americans have won the 2012 Nobel prize in Chemistry for their work in cell research. Their work involves the discovery and manipulation of the G-protein-coupled receptors, which detect signals outside the of cells they inhabit. 'The human body has about 1,000 kinds of such receptors, which enable it to respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and vision.' The winners are Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka. Lefkowitz works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is a professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Kobilka is a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in California. Their research has helped create newer and more effective drugs with fewer side effects. More on G Protein-coupled Receptor research can be found in the Journal of Biological Chemistry."
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American Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Chemistry

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  • Well. That was an unfortunate first post. But disregarding that, these two were long past due on earning the Nobel for this work. It has been the foundation for nearly 30% of all therapeutic pharmaceuticals worldwide. I've had the opportunity to meet and work with those trained by Lefkowitz and his impact in the sciences, and in particular pharmacology, will be felt for generations.

    Congratulations to them both!
    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      More than just that, the mechanisms implicated in intercellular communication are involved in a great many areas, including new and novel approaches to regenerative medicine such as stem cell treatments, and in emerging fields like biotechnology.

      This is fundemental science.

      It deserves recognition.

    • by PHCOSci (1771552)
      Also, for fun, the original paper:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3010132?dopt=Abstract [nih.gov]
    • by the gnat (153162) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:00PM (#41613759)

      these two were long past due on earning the Nobel for this work

      Kobilka was hardly "long past due" - he isn't getting the prize for his work with Lefkowitz, he's getting it for the first structure of the beta-adrenergic receptor (and more generally, for figuring out how to make GPCR crystallization feasible), which was only in 2007, and especially for the structure of the GPCR:G-protein complex which was just published last year [nih.gov]. Quite a few people expected that to seal the deal, but this is a relatively quick prize.

  • You know, I can see that the research subject could be news for nerds and matter, but why does the headline simply state the nationality of the scientists who won a Nobel Prize instead of saying anything, well, important or interesting?
    • Re:Headline (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:47PM (#41613629)

      Sadly, there seems to be this irrational need by many people to ascribe greatness to a group by vicariously claiming a portion of the grandeur by association.

      Eg, because they were American scientists, this makes America greater, and by association, americans greater.

      Nevermind that this innately divisive, unnecessary, unwarranted, stupid, and wasteful. It makes people completely unrelated to the subject matter, ans who do not comprehend the implication of the awarded science behind the award, to feel good about themselves, by excluding others.

      The reality is that it should not and does not matter which country the scientists who undertook this work were from. The work benefits all of mankind as a whole, which is exactly why a nobel prize could be awarded.

      Needless to say, I find the rationale behind the sensationalism concerning nationality in the announcement to be offensive, and I happen to be an american.

      • Maybe if Americans identified a little more taxpayer funding would pour into research and science education would be encouraged on every level until America won at science! Group pride is a little silly, but if the country produced zero scientific discoveries group shame would surely be justified.
      • Wait until the first Chinese citizen wins a science Nobel.

        Then you will experience the full scope of this phenomena, and realize how mild the US reaction to this sort of thing is.

        Tomorrow the Nobel in Literature will be awarded. One of the favorites to win is a Japanese author Haruki Murakami who recently had his books banned in China.

    • You know, I can see that the research subject could be news for nerds and matter, but why does the headline simply state the nationality of the scientists who won a Nobel Prize instead of saying anything, well, important or interesting?

      I think it is news that they are Americans, and I find it interesting.

      I mean, we've been stripping basic research funding to the bone, and then some. Many of our politicians don't really see any benefit since "We need to balance the budget, and it has to start somewhere." has become the mantra for cutting things that are politically easy to cut.

      Granted, these guys aren't doing this research now, and it has become fundamental, but it's probably not going to be very long before seeing an American win a No

      • by the gnat (153162)

        we've been stripping basic research funding to the bone, and then some.

        I'm a biochemist working for the US federal government, and this is not very accurate.

        What really happened was that the NIH budget grew explosively in the late 90s and early 00s, along with the government encouraging the training of new PhD students. This produced a glut of junior scientists, and the expectation that funding would continue to rise. When the economy tanked and the fiscal situation became more difficult (and Congress sta

  • GPCRs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:49PM (#41613649) Journal

    Some GPCRs you may know and love include:

    D3 Dopamine receptors - mediate the reinforcing effects of pleasure
    Mu Opioid receptors - mediate pain and the effects of morphine, etc.
    A1 & A2 Adenosine receptors - mediate the effects of caffeine
    CB1 Endocannabinoid receptors - mediate the effects of THC
    5-HT2a Serotonin receptors - mediate the effect of LSD
    NK1r Neurokinin receptor - mediates pain and the effect of capsaicin.
    H1 Histamine receptor - mediates cellular permeability (causing leaky noses) and the effects of benadryl, zyrtec, etc
    H2 Histamine receptor - mediates release of gastric acid and the effects of zantac, etc.

    These things are everywhere and modulate just about everything.

  • Because I'd hate to think that their research helped create older and more effective drugs. Because I come out in a rash when causality is violated. Seriously it's really itchy.
  • by CharlieG (34950) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:50PM (#41614197) Homepage

    And as Dr. Robert Lefkowitz is BxSci class of 59, this is the 8th Nobel won by one of their Grads (the other 7 are in Physics), Not bad for one High school - more than all of Australia

    • And as Dr. Robert Lefkowitz is BxSci class of 59, this is the 8th Nobel won by one of their Grads (the other 7 are in Physics), Not bad for one High school - more than all of Australia

      And (except for the bogus peace prize) twice as many as all of the world's Muslims [wikipedia.org].
  • A bunch of their articles are now free to read - http://pubs.acs.org/page/Nobel2012 [acs.org]

  • Well, there was another American mentioned these days for his advanced knowledge of chemistry...

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