Nobel Prize research has huge implications for our health and wellbeing - UK physiologists congratulate Nobel Laureates

2 October 2017. UK physiologists welcome the award of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, which has been awarded today (Monday) to three scientists from the US. 

The Nobel Prize has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for the discovery of a fundamental mechanism underlying a key biological system in our bodies: how our cells can keep time.

Using fruit flies as a model organism, this year’s Nobel laureates isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm. The biological clock is involved in many aspects of our complex physiology. A carefully calibrated circadian rhythm adapts our physiology to different phases of the day. 

President of The Physiological Society, Professor David Eisner, said: 

“On behalf of physiologists in the UK and across the world I congratulate Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young for this award. 

“Their research has transformed our understanding of circadian biology. Having evolved on a planet with roughly a 24 hour cycle of day and night, we have evolved to anticipate when these changes happen. So much of our brain and body has the capability of 24 hour rhythms and this process needs to work well to ensure good health. Understanding how our daily biological clock works and how our body adapts to different phases of the day has huge implications for our health and wellbeing. 

“This research demonstrates why an understanding of physiology is vital to understanding how our bodies respond to health and disease. 

“When someone’s biological clock is disturbed they are more likely to have poor health, such as obesity or cardiovascular illness. This research will also help us develop better treatment for ill health, for example if we can target particular components of the clock we can stop the development of certain diseases.” 


Notes for Editors 

1. The Physiological Society brings together around 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries. Since its foundation in 1876, its members have made significant contributions to our knowledge of biological systems and the treatment of disease. Its membership has included more than 20 Nobel Prize winners. The scientists who make up The Society have made many key discoveries, ranging from how our nervous system works, how our cells divide to the way in which reflexes alter human behaviour. These have advanced knowledge of biological systems and helped in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and heart disease.

2. The Society promotes physiology and supports those working in the field by organising world-class scientific meetings, offering grants for research, collaboration and international travel, and by publishing the latest developments in its leading scientific journals, The Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology and Physiological Reports

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The Physiological Society: 
Andrew Mackenzie, Head of Policy and Communications 
+44 (0)20 7269 5728