Tuesday, October 7, 2008

2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Yesterday, the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three people, with half the prize split in half for each notable discovery:

Harald zur Hausen

for his discovery of

"human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer"

and the other half jointly to

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier

for their discovery of

"human immunodeficiency virus"

Although these discoveries are "common knowledge" now, they represent critical shifts in our understanding of immunity and disease processes in the body.

For a detailed outline of these contributions visit http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2008/press.html At this site, you will also find a great FREE diagram you could use in a PowerPoint slide, with a link to a high-resolution version. (Please observe relevant copyright laws.) Click here for the PDF version of the press release announcing the prize.

A full complement of photos, summaries, videos, etc, is (or will be shortly) available at the regular entry page for this year's prize at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2008/index.html

I like to use the Nobel Prizes in my course to spark interest in the topics that we cover in A&P and to engage students in the current world of science. Nearly always, the prize in the category of "physiology or medicine" relates to a principle explored in our course. In our textbook, Anatomy & Physiology, we provide a list summarizing some of the key awards in this category for the previous hundred years or so. The list identifies the chapter(s) in which the discoveries appear as part of the story of human anatomy and physiology.

[In the 6th edition of Anatomy & Physiology, the list appears as an appendix in the book; in the upcoming 7th edition, the list is called out in the first chapter and appears in the online A&P Connect feature new to this edition. In A&P Connect, students can link directly to the Nobel website for more information . . . and the list can be updated as soon as new awards are announced.]

This year's prize include an extra bonus in terms of observing how the scientific community operates . . . a prominent American researcher, Robert Gallo, is also often recognized as independently identifying HIV as the agent of AIDS. So this prize is not without some juicy controversy, eh? For a discussion of this issue, check out this article:

Nobel Medicine Prize Row as Scientist is Excluded
Mark Henderson
Times Online October 6, 2008

FYI, the website for the Nobel Prizes at nobelprize.org is rich with other resources for your teaching. For example there are free diagrams and animations related to the Nobel-recognized discoveries. There is a link to the Nobel Museum and even educational games!

And stay tuned to our sample drop.io drop . . . if the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry relates to A&P (and it often does), then I'll be posting a voicemail or text message there to alert you.

Here's a FREE video of the announcement:

Here's a video clip that explains the reasons for the award more fully:

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.

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