SECRETARY OF THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE NOBEL COMMITTEE, THOMAS PERLMANN: "...decided to award the 2021 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine jointly to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian."
American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the 2021 Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday for the discovery of receptors in the skin that sense temperature and touch and could pave the way for new pain-killers.
Their work has helped show how humans convert the physical impact from heat or touch into nerve impulses, the Nobel Assembly said.
Julius, a professor at University of California, San Francisco, said the research was inspired by everyday life.
"And it is true that walking through the supermarket aisle one day seeing all these hot chili pepper sauces, etc., I was thinking 'we really have to get this project done.'"
Julius used capsaicin, the molecule that makes chili peppers spicy by simulating a false sensation of heat, to understand the skin's sense of temperature.
Patapoutian, a professor at Scripps Research in California, is credited with finding the cellular mechanism and the underlying gene that translates a mechanical force on our skin into an electric nerve signal.
Julius hopes his work will help identify new strategies for treating chronic pain syndromes.
The prestigious Nobel prizes were created and funded in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel. They have been awarded since 1901. The prize is worth over $1 million.