Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine 2014


The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was divided with one half to John O´Keefe and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moserfor their discoveries of cells that constitute apositioning system in the brain--> Keefe is currently director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre in Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London. --> This year's Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an "inner GPS" in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function. In 1971, John O'Keefe discovered the first component of this positioning system. He found that a type of nerve cell in an area of the brain called the hippocampus that was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places. O'Keefe concluded that these "place cells" formed a map of the room. --> More than three decades later, in 2005, May-Britt and Edvard Moser  discovered
another key component of the brain's positioning system. They identified another type of nerve cell, which they called "grid cells", that generate a coordinate system and allow for precise positioning and pathfinding. Their subsequent research showed how place and grid cells make it possible to determine position and to navigate. --> The discoveries of John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries — how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment? -->The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the first of the many Nobel prizes for 2014 on Monday. Source: Article

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