Eric Kandel – 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system
Eric Kandel discovered how the efficiency of synapses can be modified, and which molecular mechanisms that take part. With the nervous system of a sea slug as experimental model, he has demonstrated how changes of synaptic function are central for learning and memory. Protein phosphorylation in synapses plays an important role for the generation of a form of short-term memory. For the development of a long-term memory a change in protein synthesis is also required, which can lead to alterations in shape and function of the synapse.
Emmanuelle Charpentier – 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for deciphering the bacterial immune system and developing a method of genome editing Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna have discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.
Gertrude Elion – 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries related to nucleic acid metabolism
Gertrude Elion demonstrated differences in nucleic acid metabolism between normal human cells, cancer cells, protozoa, bacteria and virus. Based on such differences, a series of drugs were developed that block nucleic acid synthesis in cancer cells and noxious organisms without damaging the normal human cells. Over the years, Elion’s and Hitchings’ research philosophy has formed the basis for development of new drugs against a variety of diseases. During 1950-51, they developed thioguanine and 6-mercaptopurine against leukemia and pyrimethamine against malaria. Azathioprine, a drug that prevents rejection of transplanted organs and allopurinol, which is used in the treatment of gout, were developed in 1957 and 1963, respectively. An important discovery was that the chemotherapeutic effects of pyrimethamine and trimethoprim were markedly enhanced by sulphonamides. A recent, successful application of their research ideas is exemplified by acyclovir (1977), the first effective drug in the treatment of herpes virus infections
Denis Mukwege – 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts. His basic principle is that “justice is everyone’s business”. Men and women, officers and soldiers, and local, national and international authorities alike all have a shared responsibility for reporting, and combating, this type of war crime. The importance of Dr. Mukwege’s enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticized the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war.