Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
John E. Sulston
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002
Born: 27 March 1942, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Died: 6 March 2018
Affiliation at the time of the award: The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death'."
Prize share: 1/3
At the beginning of an organism's life, the number of cells it contains increases rapidly. New cells are formed throughout its lifetime, but cells also die in order to maintain a balance in the number of cells in existence. This process is regulated by genes and is called programmed cell death. In 1976, John Sulston described in detail how the cells of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans divided and matured, and showed that certain cells' deaths were a part of the organism's normal development. He also discovered that the first mutation in a gene that is active in the cell-death process.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.