medal
Image: The Nobel Foundation

It's Nobel week again, and the first prizes are out: Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year for their discoveries in the field of "signal transduction in the nervous system," the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute announced yesterday.

Greengard, who works at the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Science at the Rockefeller University in New York City, discovered how dopamine and other transmitters exert their influence on the nervous system. Kandel, whose lab is located at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University in New York City, investigated the molecular basis of learning and memory using the sea slug as an experimental model. Carlsson, of the department of pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, discovered that dopamine is a transmitter in the brain and that a lack of it causes Parkinson's disease. Together their findings have led to the development of a number of new drugs to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. More information about the new laureates' research is available from the Nobel Foundation at www.nobel.se/announcement/2000/medicine.html.