Michael N. Hall
University of Basel
2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
For the discovery of target of rapamycin (TOR) and its role in cell growth control.
The control of cell growth was once considered a simple process: if cells receive enough food, they will grow. Michael Hall’s discovery of the TOR protein revealed a complex regulatory dynamic, in which cells access information about available nutrients and other conditions in the tissue outside them, and so regulate their growth, division, and lifespan. His discovery was a major breakthrough, illuminating a mechanism central to the functioning of all cells, both normal and cancerous. In addition to cancer, the discovery of TOR shed light on the aging process, diabetes, obesity, and numerous other conditions.
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