Paul Nurse

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Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Maxime Nurse (born January 25, 1949 in Norwich , England ) is a British biochemist , cell researcher , neurobiologist and microbiologist . He received the 2001 Nobel Prize for discovering key regulators of cell division and maturation.


Nurse was born on January 25, 1949 in the English county of Norfolk . After completing his school education, he studied at the University of Birmingham and the University of East Anglia . After completing his Bachelor's degree in Birmingham in 1970, he received his doctorate in East Anglia in 1973. He then worked as a research assistant at the University of Bern , the University of Edinburgh , the University of Copenhagen and the University of Sussex . In 1987 Nurse followed the call of the University of Oxford , where he was a professor until 1993. He then moved to the ICRF (Imperial Cancer Research Fund) cancer research center in London , where he became Director General in 1996. Since September 2003 he has been President of Rockefeller University in New York . In 2010 he assumed the presidency of the Royal Society . Since the beginning of 2011 he has been director of the Francis Crick Institute .

One of Nurse's scientific focuses is research into the key biological components of the so-called cell cycle . Using genetic and molecular biological methods, Nurse succeeded in locating the gene for one of these components, a cyclin-dependent kinase , in yeast cells . Kinases are special enzymes , cyclins are special proteins formed during the cell growth phase . Both play a key role in mitosis and thus also in the cell cycle. Nurses colleague Tim Hunt discovered that the cyclins combine with the cyclin-dependent kinases during the growth phase. Activated by this process, the enzymes begin to combine certain proteins with phosphoric acid molecules . This process finally leads to the synthesis phase , i. That is, the genetic material begins to double .

The discoveries of Nurse and Hunt are of fundamental importance for understanding the role cyclins play in the cell cycle. At the same time, the research results open up new perspectives for future treatment methods for cancer .


In 1989 he became a member (Fellow) of the Royal Society , which awarded him the Wellcome Prize in 1992 , the Royal Medal in 1995 and the Copley Medal in 2005 . In 1992 he received a Gairdner Foundation International Award , in 1996 the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Prize , 1997 the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize and 1998 the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research . He has been a member of the Academia Europaea since 1991 and of the National Academy of Sciences since 1995 . In 1999 he was knighted as a Knight Bachelor ("Sir"). For his pioneering work, he was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine , which he shared with Hunt and the American Leland H. Hartwell . In 2006 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 2010 he was awarded honorary doctorates from Dalhousie University and the University of Salzburg . In 2013 he received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science , in 2015 he was elected honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and in 2016 of the British Academy .


  • Paul Nurse: The Great Ideas Of Biology. The Romanes Lecture For 2003 (Romanes Lecture) . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004. ISBN 0-19-951897-1


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