This week, Michael W. Young pictured right, a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the Genetics Society of America (GSA), and Joachim Frank pictured left, a Protein Society (PS) member, were each named 2017 Nobel Laureates.
On October 2, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Young, Jeffrey C. Hall, and Michael Rosbash for their “discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” Together, Young, Hall, and Roshbash examined fruit flies to determine the link between the Earth’s rotation and the daily rhythm of plants, animals, and humans.
Through their experiments, they identified a unique gene that controls the “internal biological clock” of living organisms throughout the day. This clock is intricately tied to how a person feels and acts at certain parts of the day, controlling critical bodily functions (e.g., sleep, temperature, and hormones).
On October 4, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Joachim Frank, Jacques Dubochet, and Richard Henderson for their “development of cry-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.”
Achieved through a joint effort by Frank, Dubochet, and Henderson over multiple decades, this technique makes it possible to capture highly detailed images of biomolecules at an atomic level. As a result, scientists will now be able gain a greater understanding of emerging diseases such as the Zika Virus by examining 3D images of the pathogen’s makeup and using it to develop a vaccine.