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2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was divided; one half awarded to John O’Keefe, the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain".

In the early 1970’s, Dr. O’Keefe discovered “place cells” in the rat model. His work demonstrated that different cells in the brain were active based upon the location of the rat. When the rat was in a certain place in the room, the hippocampus was always activated, while other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places. In 2005, Drs. May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered “grid cells" that create a coordinate system and permit precise positioning and path-finding. Their subsequent research showed how place and grid cells facilitate the ability to determine position and to navigate.

Dr. O’Keefe earned his MA and PhD degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He joined the University College of London (UCL) as a U.S. National Institutes of Health National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in 1967, and he has remained there throughout his career. He is a citizen of both the United States and of the United Kingdom. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences. Among the numerous honors and awards he has received for his work are: the 2001 Feldberg Foundation Prize; the 2006 Grawemeyer Award in psychology (shared with Lynn Nadel); the 2007 British Neuroscience Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Neuroscience; the 2008 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies European Journal of Neuroscience Award; the 2008 …

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