Thomas C. Südhof
Born: 22 December 1955, Göttingen, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells"
Field: cell physiology, neurophysiology
Prize share: 1/3
The cells inside our bodies produce a host of different molecules that are sent to specific sites. During transport, many of these molecules are grouped together in tiny sac-like structures called vesicles. These vesicles help transport substances to different places inside the cell and send molecules from the cell's surface as signals to other cells in the body.
By studying brain cells from mice, in the 1990s Thomas Südhof demonstrated how vesicles are held in place, ready to release signal-bearing molecules at the right moment.
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