The Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to two Americans and a Briton

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The 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine opened the awards on Monday. It was jointly attributed to the Americans William G. Kaelin and Gregg L. Semenza and the British Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, “for their discoveries on how cells detect and adapt to oxygen availability.”

For the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the body that awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the three researchers “have identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to different levels of oxygen. The major discoveries of this year’s Nobel laureates have revealed the mechanism of one of life’s most essential coping processes.”

They also, “established the basis of our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function. Their findings have also paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases,” the assembly said.

Born in 1957 in New York, William G. Kaelin, Jr. earned a master’s degree from Duke University, Durham. He trained as a specialist in internal medicine and oncology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He established his research laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and became an ordinary professor at Harvard Medical School in 2002. He has been a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes since 1998.

Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe was born in 1954 in Lancashire, United Kingdom. He studied medicine at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, and trained as a nephrology specialist at Oxford. He established an independent research group at the University of Oxford and became a full professor in 1996. He is Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute in London, Director of the Target Discovery Institute in Oxford and a member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

The third recipient, Gregg L. Semenza, was born in 1956 in New York City. He received his B.A. in Biology from Harvard University, Boston. He received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine at Philadelphia in 1984 and a specialist in pediatrics training at Duke University in Durham.

He completed postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he also established an independent research group. He became a full professor at Johns Hopkins University in 1999 and has been Director of the Vascular Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering since 2003.

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