American Jewish scientist winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine

David Julius (November 4, 1955) is an American biochemist. He is considered a pioneer in the molecular analysis of nociceptors.

He was born in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn (United States) and graduated in biology in 1977 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1984, he received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Berkeley. He is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

Julius is a member of numerous academies such as the National Academy of Sciences of the United States or the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Scientific research

David Julius proved the existence of a sensory neuron called a nociceptor, which would respond to physical or chemical stimuli whose intensity causes pain in humans. Therefore, Julius supports that nociception is a specific and individual sensory modality.

Furthermore, Julius identified the TRPV1 channel as a neuronal receptor for noxious stimuli. Through this channel it is possible to treat chronic pain, neurogenic inflammatory syndromes or those associated with arthritis, cancer or asthma.

The work for which he won the Nobel Prize – Photo: Wikipedia – • CC BY-SA 4.0

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kerr Prize for Basic Research from the American Pain Society (2006), the Zülch Prize for Neurological Research from the Max Planck Society (2006), the Edward Scolnick Prize for Neuroscience from MIT (2007), the Alden Spencer in Neuroscience from Columbia University (2007), the Julius Axelrod Award from the Society for Neuroscience (2007), and the Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research in 2010, together with Linda R. Watkins and Baruch Minke.

In 2021, David Julius received the 2021 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the category of biology and biomedicine, together with Ardem Patapoutian, “for identifying the receptors that allow us to perceive temperature, pain and pressure.” jury evaluation “temperature, pain and pressure are part of our sense of touch, perhaps the least understood of the five human senses. Julius and Patapoutian discovered the molecular and neural basis of thermal and mechanical sensations.”

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