Brandeis University warmly congratulates Michael Rosbash, the Peter Gruber Endowed Chair in Neuroscience and professor of biology, and Jeffrey C. Hall, professor emeritus of biology, on being awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
"The paradigm-shifting discoveries by the laureates established key mechanisms for the biological clock", the Nobel Assembly said in its prize statement.
This showed that PER protein levels oscillate over a 24-hour cycle, in sync with the circadian rhythm.
Our internal clocks determine almost every biological process in our bodies, from sleeping, to eating, to our blood pressure. The scientists were able to peek inside the human biological clock and further clarified its inner workings.
By testing on fruit flies, this year's Nobel laureates isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm in living organisms.
A third gene was discovered by the trio later, called doubletime, which encoded for a protein that was responsible for controlling the circadian rhythm's periods. In 1984, the three Nobel prize-winning researchers succeeded in doing just that, with Hall and Rosbash isolating the period gene at Brandeis University and Young making his breakthrough at the Rockefeller University in NY.
So wrote USA geneticist Michael Rosbash this year in a memoir titled 'A 50-Year Personal Journey: Location, Gene Expression, and Circadian Rhythms'.
The winners will share a prize of 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million). They found that mutations in an unknown gene disrupted flies' circadian clock and named the gene "period", or per.
Hall and Rosbash hypothesised that the PER protein blocked the activity of the period gene, which might help explain how the circadian oscillations could be generated and sustained. A decade later, Mr Young discovered another "clock gene". Later, y identified more components of this internal clock, which also works on cells of or multicellular organisms, such as humans.
The research revealed that our well-being is affected when there is a temporary mismatch between our external environment and our internal biological clock and this chronic misalignment could lead increased risk of various diseases.