Sir Paul M. Nurse
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001
Born: 25 January 1949, Norwich, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle”
Prize share: 1/3
From the beginning organisms evolve from one cell, which divides and becomes new cells that in turn divide. Eventually different types of cells are formed with different roles. For an organism to function and develop normally, cell division has to occur at a suitable pace. Paul Nurse has helped to show how the cell cycle is controlled. Through studies of yeast in the mid-1970s, Nurse was able to show that a special gene plays a decisive role in several of the cell cycle’s phases. In 1987 he identified a corresponding human gene.