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Nobel Prize in Physiology goes to Norwegian researchers

Norwegian husband-wife team Edvard and May-Britt Moser have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology for their discovery of grid cells in the brain.

The two carry out their research from their laboratory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. They are sharing the award with US-British researcher John O'Keefe, with whom they have collaborated.

Cutting-edge brain research

“This year’s Nobel Laureates have discovered a positioning system, an ‘inner GPS’ in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function,” reads the announcement from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Back in 1971, John O'Keefe discovered “place cells” in the brain that he postulated were building up a coordinate system that lends the brain its sense of direction and perception of position in space.

“The discoveries of John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries – how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us?” the Assembly’s statement continues.

Funding from Research Council of Norway

The Research Council is proud to have supported the research for which May-Britt and Edvard Moser have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Among other things, the Research Council has provided funding for two Norwegian Centres of Excellence (SFF) at NTNU headed by the Mosers. The first, the Centre for the Biology of Memory, was established in 2002 with Edvard Moser as director. Read more about the centre here.

In 2013 a new SFF centre related to this research was launched. The Centre for Neural Computation (CNC) is headed by May-Britt Moser and has just begun its 10-year funding period under the SFF scheme. Read more about the CNC here.

The Research Council extends it heartiest congratulations to the NTNU couple on winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. “The Mosers’ research group has brought Norwegian research into the world’s most elite circles. Their group fulfils all the criteria for excellence in research,” says Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council.

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