2012 Nobel Prize: “Your Two Cents”

De-differentiation and then re-differentiation of these cells having pluripotency will improve acceptance and research on “STEM CELL RESEARCH” leading to improved and healthy life. Congratulations John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the Nobel Prize.

– Hafsa Waheed, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences

Nobel Prize Medal.
Photo Credits: Ted Spiegel

Okay, okay… It’s 2012 and like all other years, since 1901, Nobel Prizes were announced for the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace (count The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in as well, which was established in the memory of Alfred Nobel in 1968). Oh, well, no, it’s not like that… Since 1901, there have been 50 times when the Nobel Prizes have not been awarded (generally, when people were busy in World War 1, or World War 2)… 2012, however, was honored with the announcement in all fields. So, on the occasion,  we asked for small comments and congratulations for the Nobel laureates in science fields.

Source: nobelprize.org

What the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology is all About This Year?

The Nobel Prize in the field of medicine or physiology has been awarded jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka on the discovery that complete mature cells can be reprogrammed into embryonic like stem cells, having ability to differentiate into a number of cell types, a phenomenon called pluripotency.

Undoubtedly, this discovery is a breakthrough in field of modern medicine as it leads towards the better understanding of how cells actually work. Moreover, the concept of induced pluripotency can work wonders in the cases where people are reluctant to make use of embryonic stem cells.

Heartiest Congratulations to both of the Scientists for their efforts and for  being a driving force for the young minds working in the same field.

Samina Urooj, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences

What Makes this Research so Great?

Stem cell research is huge… and, it is being applied in some areas with miraculous results (check this one out, for example). Here’s more:

Stem cell therapies are future of clinical treatment of multiple ailments ranging from genetic, metabolic disorders, to diseases related to immune system. There exist two sources for these stem cells: either use embryonic stem cell or use adult stem but due to some ethical considerations and controversies, embryonic stem cells are not acceptable to many societies and adult are not the first choice of scientist due their limitations. But now THANKS to two old veterans, Sir John B. Gurdon (UK) and Shinya Yamanaka (Japan), we have a technique (INDUCED PLURIPOTENT STEM CELLS) through which it is possible to revert adult cells into embryonic cells using multi-factorial interventions (reprogramming) at genetic level. The scientific world will be hailing these two with NOBEL PRIZE this year (2012) in Oslo.

Khazima Muazim, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences


Application of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in Organ Transplantation: In case of organ transplantation among non-related individuals, iPSCs could be coaxed into the desired cell types that would already be genetically matched with the patient. Another key advantage of iPSCs over current transplantation approaches is the possibility of repairing disease-causing mutations by homologous recombination, a technology that has been used with limited success in adult stem cells because of notorious difficulties in growing them outside the body.

Nayab Nawaz, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences

Source: nobelprize.org

What the Nobel Prize in Physics is all About This Year?

Scientists have been complaining about studying the quantum world for a long, long time, for the little particles keep slipping through their fingers. So, here’s the new idea – Isolate the particles and trap them in cold, dark, highly reflective cavities that may preserve their quantum properties long enough to be studied.

David J. Wineland isolated and trapped atoms in electric field whereas Serge Haroche, his partner in the Prize, trapped photons between superconducting mirrors that are cooled to a fraction above the absolute zero. Their working style was opposite, but the purpose was the same: to study the quantum nature of atoms and photons by observing their interactions with each other.

What Makes this Research so Great?

This research may serve as the basis for developing extremely accurate atomic clocks. Another potential application is to make super fast, super cool quantum computers, in which single ions serve as units of computations.

Source: nobelprize.org

What the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is all About This Year?

Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka studied G-protein-coupled-receptors in a time when the concept of “receptor” was doubtful. 

Robert J. Lefkowitz (Duke University)and Brian K. Kobilka (Stanford University)… Lefkowitz actually isolated one of the most common GPCRs, beta-2 adrenergic receptor (ADRB2), that binds to epinephrine to regulate the fight-or-flight response. He also determined the amino acid sequences of several subtypes of adrenergic receptors, leading to the realization that GPCRs share a similar structure. Kobilka studied the crystal structure of ADRB2 that was bound to a ligand, providing a high-resolution view of how the GPCR works.

– Khazima Muazim, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences

What Makes this Research so Great?

And, well, GPCRs are very, very important to us. Here’s why:

G-protein-coupled-receptors (GPCRs) is the largest and highly diverse family of cell surface receptors that regulate various biological processes in response to different stimuli. These receptors are major targets for over more than 40% of modern drugs. So, various drugs used to induce pluripotency in adult stem cells can bind with high efficiency with the G-protein coupled receptors to induce the expression of 4 major reprogramming factors, that are involved in producing induced pluripotent stem cells.

– Nazia Chaudry, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences


Ligands binds to G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and thus initiate intracellular signaling pathways. Ligand-binding is also at specific position so different ligands binds to different site on GPCRs in order to perform specific functions. Ligand-binding sometimes also initiates signaling cascade that may cause certain diseases, and thus, GPCRs are also the targets for therapeutic drugs.

In my opinion, certain hormones that are involved in de-differentiation binds to GPCRs and, thus lead to the development of pluripotency.

Sabahat Gul, Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences

So now we have an added 6 scientists to all the Nobel laureates over the years. Thank you all who responded and contributed their messages for some of the most amazing work that has been recognized this year, and helped us say congratulations to these great people 🙂


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