The Nobels are coming up. Here is last year’s prediction (note that I had listed Mello and Fire).Who will win this year? You tell me.
Some guesses for the Medicine & Physiology (or perhaps Chemistry) below the fold. Warning – the predictions presented here are highly biased towards cellular physiology.
Membrane Traffic. James Rothman and Randy Schekman. Maybe you could throw in Peter Novak.
There’s a rumour that intracellular signalling may win. Tony Hunter (phospho-tyrosine), Tony Pawson (protein signalling domains) and Allan Hall (small G-protein switches).
Structure of the first virus. Steven Harrison. (I’ve been told to throw in Michael Rossman from Purdue).
Structure of the ribosome. Tom Steitz, Venki Ramakrishnan, Harry Noeller and Ada Yonath. That’s one too many, but since most people would cross off one name, I’ll let you mentally eliminate the one who doesn’t belong.
Angiogenesis (very controversial).
Judith Folkmann Judah Folkman.
Telomeres. Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak. They won this year’s Lasker Award.
Major Histocompatibility Complex, structure, maturation etc. Very hard. Don Wiley would be nominated here but he died. There are many others. In addition you could nominate Peter Cresswell.
Stemcells. Ernest McCulloch and James Till (last year’s Lasker award.) very controversial – usually the science awards are not given to make political statements.
Transport Motors. Ron Vale (kinesin), Ian Gibons (flagellar dynein), Rich Vallee (cytoplasmic dynein and dynamin) … [there is little chance that this will happen – apparently the major complaint is that motors, i.e. myosin, already got recognized.]
And of course there is p53! There are about 3 codiscoverers (not sure about that). Bert Vogelstein wasn’t one of them, but he may get it too. (maybe for tumor suppressors??) If it’s tumor suppressors they could also give a tumour suppressor prize to Robert Weinberg.
OK time for some wild guesses …
Fluorescent protein imaging technology. Perhaps this would be more of a Chemistry prize. Roger Tsien (Bapta, FLASH, and evolving about a dozen new fluorescent proteins from dsRed in vitro – see image above). This would kind of be neat as Dr Tsien used selection (i.e. evolution) to design reagents. (Take that you IDiots!) But then there is also green fluorescent protein (GFP). This would be a problem. Osamu Shimomura isolated this wonder macromolecule. Douglas Prasher cloned the gene that encodes it but lost his funding before he could do any work on the protein (and then left academic science!) Martin Chalfie heard about GFP (at a talk?) got the DNA from Prasher as his lab was closing. Chalfie published the first paper where GFP was used in some application. Tough to tell who they would give it to.
RNAi. It’s kinda early. Rich Jorgensen who first discovered it in petunias could get it. Then it becomes murky. Kemphues who accidentally made a mistake in worms can’t get it. Andrew Fire and Craigg Mello who figured out what was happening are the best choices. Other possible people are Ambrose, Zamore, Bartel, Hannon …
And yes .. the human genome. Venter, Landers, Collins. Not really a discovery. I like them, they did a lot of good. But I don’t think they should get it.
[And here’s a real dark horse … or black sheep … Dolly or more specifically Cloning. Ian Wilmut would get it. Not likely in light of whatr happened in Korea.]
miRNA Very early. It would have to go to Vic Ambrose and Gary Ruvkin. But then again last year I thought that RNAi was early.
Transcription profile chips. Again more of a chemistry prize. Pat Brown would have to get it. This has revolutionized biology and may one day revolutionize medicine. One problem is that sequencing technology is so inexpensive that Affymetrix chips will soon be obsolete.On that note the latest sequencing technologies may get the Chemistry prize …
In vitro generation of Stem Cell Way too early. But Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka should get it one day. Click here to read why.
[end of update]
Any other suggestions?