In news- David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian jointly won the 2021 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.
- They identified receptors in the skin that respond to heat and pressure.
- Focussing on a field known as somatosensation, they decoded how the human body turns physical sensations into electrical pulses in the nervous system.
- David Julius of the University of California utilised capsaicin, a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat.
- Ardem Patapoutian, of Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Scripps Research, used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs.
- The groundbreaking work is being used to develop treatments for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including chronic pain.
- It promotes research activities leading to a rapid increase in our understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli.