2012 Canada Gairdner International Award laureates, Drs. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young have been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.
Together, the trio discovered that our circadian clocks are regulated by a small group of genes that work at the level of the individual cell. Subtle mutations in any of these genes can accelerate or slow our daily rhythms. They worked with fruit flies to isolate a gene that controls normal daily biological rhythm and discovered that this gene encodes a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night and degrades during the day, eventually identifying the mechanism that governs the internal clockwork of the cell.
Their discoveries have far-reaching applications including sleep and appetite disorders and insights into the brain, liver, lungs and skin which use the same genetic mechanisms to control their rhythmic activities.
Drs. Hall, Rosbash and Young were awarded the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2012 and have become the 85th, 86th and 87th Canada Gairdner Award laureates to also be awarded the Nobel Prize.
(Photo credit: Chinese University Of Hong Kong Handout/EPA)