Nobel laureate in Medicine was a Gulbenkian grantee

Ardem Patapoutian, awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine, received a Gulbenkian grant in 1985 to study at the American University of Beirut.
Ardem Patapoutian ©Scripps Research

The Armenian-born researcher, born in Lebanon in 1967, attended the first year of a chemistry course at the American University of Beirut with the help of a grant awarded by the Armenian Communities Service of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the academic year 1985/86, before migrating with his family to the United States.

Ardem Patapoutian is now a neuroscientist at the Scripps Research institute in La Jolla, California, and was this week awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with US researcher David Julius, “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch”, according to an announcement by the Nobel committee at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden).

With this award, the Nobel committee emphasises the importance of Patapoutian’s work in helping to clarify how heat, cold and touch can initiate signals in our nervous system. The Lebanese researcher was responsible for the discovery of a new type of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs through pressure-sensitive cells.

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