Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Just as I predicted . . . this year' Nobel Prize for chemistry has an A&P connection!

The announcement came as scheduled on October 8 . . . and the same day I notified you via a voice message at our drop.io drop . . . .

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the
Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2008 jointly to

Osamu Shimomura,
Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, MA, USA
and Boston University Medical School, MA, USA,

Martin Chalfie,
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA


Roger Y. Tsien,
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

"for the discovery and development of the
green fluorescent protein, GFP

So how does this discovery relate to human anatomy & physiology? GFP (shown in the ribbon model) is that bright green stain used in all those micrographs of important structures and processes in the cell!

As the Nobel Committee states, "With the aid of GFP, researchers have developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread."

For an example of how this protein can be used, look at Figure 16-36 in our textbook Anatomy & Physiology 6th edition. The image in part A shows GFP used to identify the location of insulin in pancreatic tissue--thus outlining the beta cells and establishing the overall structure of a pancreatic islet. Just one of many examples, of course.

And it's not just green that can be used . . . Tsien is the laureate (sharing this prize) who built on the original discovery to develop a whole palette of colors that can be used to study the human body (and other organisms).

For a nice summary, check out these FREE publications (PDF format) from nobelprize.org

Information for the public
(basic summary and significance of the discovery; has COOL multicolor photos of brain tissue)

Scientific background
(More in-depth information)

Also visit the links at the main page for this prize at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2008/index.html

Here's a great article from Science News (with links to previous articles related to this discovery):

Nobel Prize in chemistry commends finding and use of green fluorescent protein

Here's a video explaining the reasons for awarding the prize . . .

(go directly to the blog if the video viewer does not appear in your email or news feed)

Here's a video clip explaining the concepts involved . . .

(go directly to the blog if the video viewer does not appear in your email or news feed)

For the "how-to" on how to embed these clips in your webpage, email, or PowerPoint slide, please go to the YouTube page at The A&P Professor website

Also read my article from last week regarding how I use Nobel Prize winners and their discoveries in my course . . . and how they are linked to my textbook Anatomy & Physiology.

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