Why ‘Physiology’ Is Important to the Nobel Prize Name

Nobel Prize medal

Many physiologists and physicians around the world look forward to the first week of October. It’s not the crisp, cool autumn air or the promise of enjoying one more pumpkin spice latte before they disappear from coffeeshops that beckons, although those things are nice too. It’s the anticipation of learning what top scientific research has earned the most prestigious honor in their field, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Every day, we hear news of important discoveries in physiology and medicine. Researchers are constantly uncovering new information that help us better understand life and improve health. This is why “physiology” is part of the Nobel Prize name. Physiology is the study of how organisms function, both when they’re healthy and when they’re not. Even the smallest benchmarks in physiology, from studying a low-tech way to cool down the body during a heat wave to identifying a new organ can lead to major advances in treating chronic health conditions or curing a disease.

We asked American Physiological Society member-leaders to share their predictions for the researchers and topics that might win a Nobel Prize. Their picks ranged from CRISPR gene editing technology to work on different topics relating to the immune system, DNA damage and repair processes and to the groundbreaking discovery of a treatment for hepatitis C.

Do you agree? And, if not, who do you think will win? Take our survey and see how others voted.

—Erica Roth

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