Paul M. Nurse

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Sir Paul M. Nurse "is President of Rockefeller University. In 2001, with Leland H. Hartwell and R. Timothy Hunt, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries regarding cell cycle regulation by cyclin and cyclin dependent kinases.

"While earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Birmingham, he became interested in developmental biology and the problem of how cells undergo differentiation.

"As a graduate student at the University of East Anglia, he worked on a team studying the enzymes of amino acid metabolism during the cell cycle of the fungus Candida utilis. After earning his Ph.D. in 1973, he went on to six years of postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Murdoch Mitchison in Edinburgh, where he introduced a genetic approach into their study of the fission yeast cell cycle.

"Beginning in 1976, Nurse identified the gene cdc2 in yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). This gene controls the progression of the cell cycle from G1 phase to S phase and the transition from G2 phase to mitosis. He went on to the University of Sussex in Brighton in 1980, where he could study the molecular genetics of the cell cycle, and in 1984 at the invitation of Walter Bodmer, Scientific Director of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, he accepted a permanent position as head of one of the ICRF's main laboratories. In 1987, Nurse identified the homologous gene in human CDK1, which codes for a cyclin dependent kinase.

"Nurse left the ICRF in 1988 to become chair of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Oxford. He then returned to the ICRF as Director of Research in 1993, and in 1996 was named Director General of the ICRF, which became Cancer Research UK in 2002. In 2003, he became president of Rockefeller University in New York City where he continues to work on the cell cycle of fission yeast.

"Paul Nurse was born in Wembley, in northwest London. In 1989, he became a fellow of the Royal Society and in 1995 he received a Royal Medal and became a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1998. He was knighted in 1999. His other awards include the French Legion d'Honneur (2002) and the Copley Medal (2005). In 2006, he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences." [1]

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  1. Paul M. Nurse, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, accessed January 27, 2009.