May-Britt Moser, Edvard Moser and John O’Keefe win 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine

This time, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2014 has been shared by three people- May-Britt Moser, Edvard I Moser and John O’Keefe for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Oct 06, 2014, 18:42 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Stockholm: The winners for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine have been announced Monday by the Nobel Committee in Stockholm.

This time, the coveted prize has been shared by three scientists- May-Britt Moser, Edvard I Moser and John O’Keefe for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.

This year's laureates have discovered an “inner GPS” in the brain that “makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function”, said a statement of the committee.

In 1971, John O'Keefe discovered that certain nerve cells in the rat's brain were activated when it assumed a particular place in the environment, while other nerve cells were activated at other places. He concluded that these “place cells” (located in the hippocampus) formed a map of the environment.

In 2005, May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered another piece of the invisible positioning system.

They identified another type of nerve cell -“grid cells” which generate a coordinated system and allow the brain to make precise positioning and pathfinding.

May‐Britt and Edvard Moser is the fifth married couple to be awarded a Nobel Prize.

While one half of the prize goes to John O’Keefe. The other half is split by May-Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser.

May‐Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser are both Norwegian citizens. May‐Britt Moser, who worked at UCL in the past is now Director of the Centre for Neural Computation in Trondheim.

Her husband Edvard I Moser is currently Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim.

John O’Keefe holds both Us and British citizenship. He is the Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre in Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London.

“I’m still in shock. This is so great,” said May‐Britt Moser on winning the prize.

The Nobel Prizes have been awarded in recognition of scientific and cultural research and advances for 113 years. More winners of the coveted awards will be announced in the fields of physics, chemistry, economics and peace throughout the week.

However, the literature prize will be announced at a later date as usual.