Americans win Nobel medicine prize for circadian rhythm work

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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017 was awarded jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”.

The laureates are Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. Rosbash is on the faculty at Brandeis University, Young at Rockefeller University and Hall has been associated with the University of Maine.

The citation for the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize says the researchers isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm. They “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings.”

Circadian rhythms adapt the workings of the body to different phases of the day, influencing sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.

The winners have raised “awareness of the importance of a proper sleep hygiene” said Juleen Zierath of the Nobel academy.