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Nobel prize for british scientist

Sir Peter Ratcliffe has been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries in how cells react to oxygen availability.

Alongside the other prize winners – William Kaelin Jr and Gregg Semenza – Sir Peter discovered how cells sense and adapt to changing oxygen availability and identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.

Their discoveries have also paved the way for new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and other diseases.

Thirty-one years ago, Sir Peter qualified as a doctor from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, one of Queen Mary University of London’s founding institutions.

Professor Colin Bailey, Queen Mary’s Principal and President, said: “It is clear that this work is seminal, and it will have ramifications within and beyond physiology and medical science.”

The Nobel Committee announced: “The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen has long been unknown.

“Thanks to the ground-breaking work of these Nobel Laureates, we know much more about how different oxygen levels regulate fundamental physiological processes.”

Sir Peter said: “I am honoured and delighted at the news. I have had great support from so many people over the years.

“It’s a tribute to the lab, to those who helped me set it up and worked with me on the project over the years, to many others in the field, and not least to my family for their forbearance of all the ups and downs.”

The winners were awarded gold medals, diplomas and £740,000 to share.  

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Image credit | Shutterstock

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