The Nobel Assembly kicked off its awards season Monday morning, handing out the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to three researchers for their research on the transportation of substances within cells, providing further insight into immunological disorders such as diabetes.
Americans James Rothman, 62, Randy Schekman, 64, and German-born Thomas Sudhof, 57, from Yale University, University of California—Berkeley and Stanford University, respectively, will split the $1.2 million prize.
"Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Sudhoff have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes and immunological disorders," the Nobel Assembly said in a statement.
The research by the Nobel laureates uncovers how cells organize their transport system. All three separately studied how cells regulate vesicles that shuttle substances between organelles and other cells in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Defective vesicle transport is a factor in numerous immunological and neurological disorders, according to the Nobel Assembly.
"This is not an overnight thing. Most of it has been accomplished and developed over many years, if not decades," Rothman told The Associated Press.
The Nobel Assembly will announce prize winners for achievements in physics, chemistry and medicine daily through the end of the week, capping off with the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Nobel Prize founder Alfred Nobel will be announced Oct. 14.