2016 Nobel laureates: who they are and what their contributions are to mankind

History has shown us that often the difference between a useful tool and a deadly weapon lies not in the object itself, but the manner in which it is used. This was the case of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and engineer who figured out a way to turn nitroglycerin, an unstable and unpredictable explosive, into a safe and controllable compound: dynamite. While revolutionizing the mining, oil and railway industries, it also boosted the armament business into a new, more powerful era. In his last days, regretting the consequences of his invention and his own profit from it, Nobel decided to devote his fortune to a set of prizes for those people who “have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind”. That is how the Nobel Foundation was created, which, together with renown scientific institutions, nominate and award every year outstanding people from all over the world. In this article, we will take a look at the Nobel Laureates of 2016 and the work for which they are recognized.

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Bright News for Pearly Whites

The most common chronic disease in young children is not what you think.  It’s not the viruses that cause constant runny noses or those dreary nights of when a child wakes mom up in the middle of the night and says, “I feel sick.”  Actually, the answer is dental caries, also known as cavities.

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The Future of Research, Healthcare, and Education at the University of Texas System

The vision of William H. McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System

Recently, William H. McRaven, Chancellor of the University of Texas (UT) System, spoke to the UT System Board of Regents to outline his vision for the future of the UT system 5, 10, and 20 years from now. During his speech Chancellor McRaven discussed his initiatives to implement what he described as “Quantum Leaps” in the ability of the UT System “to provide the citizens of Texas the very best in higher education, research, and health care.” Continue reading

The 21st Century Cures Act: What Is It And How Does It Affect Scientific Research?

The House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures Act on July 10th, 2015. The bill, which was drafted by the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives, hopes to “accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of life saving and life improving therapies, and transform the quest for faster cures”. There are around 10,000 diseases and conditions currently known, however, there are only cures and treatments for 500 of them. Furthermore, it can often take decades for new discoveries to be translated into therapies for patients. Thus, the 21st Century Cures Act aims to solve these current problems in the biomedical research field by improving certain aspects of how the National Institute of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operate.

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The 2015 Nobel Prize-Recognizing the Global Impact of Science

On October 5th, 2015 the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura for “their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites” and awarded to Youyou Tu for “her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria”. These three scientists were instrumental in identifying the compounds now used as standard of care for many parasitic diseases.

The winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Picture from nobelprize.org

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