Shaw Prize Awarded to Sir Michael Berridge

His discovery of the key role that calcium plays in regulating cellular activity and orchestrating the complexities of cellular communication has given insight into some of the physiological processes behind medical conditions like hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia and heart failure, cancer and bipolar disorders such as manic depressive illness.

Professor Berridge’s discovery of the molecule inositol trisphophate, better known as IP3, and its role in the calcium signalling pathway, was a major breakthrough in understanding how a cell translates chemical stimuli at its external surface into an intracellular chemical language that enables the cell to elicit a physiological response. These breakthroughs have had a profound influence on diverse areas of biomedical research such as cell proliferation, fertilisation, neural activity, memory and learning, metabolism and muscle contraction.

Hailed as the Nobel Prize of the East, following the first award of prizes in 2004, this international accolade consists of three annual prizes in the fields of life science and medicine, astronomy and mathematical sciences, each bearing a monetary award of $1 million US dollars.

The Director of the Babraham Institute, Dr Richard Dyer, said, “We are delighted that the Shaw Foundation has honoured Professor Berridge with this valuable and prestigious prize. His elegant experiments elucidating the mechanisms controlling insect salivary secretion and insightful interpretation, pinpointed the pivotal role of second messengers like calcium and IP3 in cellular communication and function."

"He pioneered a field of research that has pervaded almost every area of cell biology. Today research in this field is bringing new understanding of a wide range of medical disorders and with it the potential to develop ever more sophisticated therapeutic strategies for the prevention and management of disease,” Dyer added.; Source: Babraham Institute