Nobel Prizes in Neuroscience (Updated)

After O’Keefe and the Mosers winning the Nobel prize this year, I was wondering how many of the prizes have been for neuroscience research (directly). From the full list, these seem to be the winners:

  1. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014
    John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser
    “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”
  2. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2013
    James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof
    “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”
  3. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004
    Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck
    “for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system”
  4. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2000
    Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric R. Kandel
    “for their discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system”
  5. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1991
    Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann
    “for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells”
  6. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981
    Roger W. Sperry
    “for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres”
    David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel
    “for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system”
  7. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1977
    Roger Guillemin and Andrew V. Schally
    “for their discoveries concerning the peptide hormone production of the brain”
    Rosalyn Yalow
    “for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones”
  8. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1973
    Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen
    “for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns”
  9. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1971
    Earl W. Sutherland, Jr.
    “for his discoveries concerning the mechanisms of the action of hormones”
  10. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1970
    Sir Bernard Katz, Ulf von Euler and Julius Axelrod
    “for their discoveries concerning the humoral transmittors in the nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release and inactivation”
  11. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1963
    Sir John Carew Eccles, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Fielding Huxley
    “for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane”
  12. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1961
    Georg von Békésy
    “for his discoveries of the physical mechanism of stimulation within the cochlea”
  13. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1950
    Edward Calvin Kendall, Tadeus Reichstein and Philip Showalter Hench
    “for their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects”
  14. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1949
    Walter Rudolf Hess
    “for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs”
    Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz
    “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses”
  15. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1947
    Carl Ferdinand Cori and Gerty Theresa Cori, née Radnitz
    “for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen”
    Bernardo Alberto Houssay
    “for his discovery of the part played by the hormone of the anterior pituitary lobe in the metabolism of sugar”
  16. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1944
    Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Spencer Gasser
    “for their discoveries relating to the highly differentiated functions of single nerve fibres”
  17. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1936
    Sir Henry Hallett Dale and Otto Loewi
    “for their discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses”
  18. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1932
    Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and Edgar Douglas Adrian
    “for their discoveries regarding the functions of neurons”
  19. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1906
    Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal
    “in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system”
  20. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904
    Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
    “in recognition of his work on the physiology of digestion, through which knowledge on vital aspects of the subject has been transformed and enlarged”

16.2% 19% of the awards have gone to neuroscience!

One thing that struck me is how many names I don’t know, especially for people who, apparently, did really foundational work. I need to bone up on my history of neuroscience. Also, neuroscientists, don’t expect another award for ~7-8 years (*coughDeisserothBoydencough*).

*I’m including the 1973 prize as the (lone?! update: Pavlov!) psychology prize. Not sure whether to include the 1994 prize for GPCRs?

Updated: As commenter alf pointed out, I forgot Golgi and Ramon y Cajal! Which is depressing. And he’s right, last year’s work on vesicular transport could largely be seen as a neuroscientific prize.

Also Pavlov, because of the weird way the committee described his work.

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