Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience, has been named a recipient of the 49th Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research for his contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of touch and pain. He shares the award with David Julius, PhD, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
After making important contributions to studies of temperature sensation, Patapoutian and his laboratory team began investigating how the skin senses mechanical stimuli. They identified two proteins—PIEZO1 and PIEZO2—that enable touch sensing and proprioception, the awareness of body position and movement. They went on to show that these channels play unexpected roles in cell physiology, including the regulation of red blood cell volume and the properties of airways in the lungs.
The Rosenstiel Award was established at Brandeis University as “an expression of the conviction that educational institutions have an important role to play in the encouragement and development of basic science as it applies to medicine.” More than 30 percent of the recipients of the Rosenstiel Award have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
Patapoutian and Julius will receive their award and deliver lectures at an April 2020 ceremony at Brandeis University.