The first Nobel winners of 2017 have been announced, and three Americans have collected the prize for medicine. Jeffrey C. Hall of the University of Maine, Michael Rosbash of Brandeis University, and Michael W. Young of Rockefeller University were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for shedding light on our biological clocks, reports the AP. In their work with fruit flies, the scientists were "able to peek inside our biological clock" to make discoveries that "explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions,” the Nobel prize committee said in a statement.
"You are kidding me," Rosbash said in response to getting the call, per the Guardian. He and his colleagues will share the $1.1 million prize. The researchers isolated a gene that plays a vital role in regulating circadian rhythms, showing how it is responsible for a protein that accumulates at night and degrades during the day. Among other things, the scientists raised “awareness of the importance of a proper sleep hygiene," said Juleen Zierath of the Nobel academy. Hall is a native of New York, Rosbash of Oklahoma City, and Young of Miami, reports the Washington Post. Rosbash and Hall talk about their work in this 2012 video. (Read more Nobel Prize for Medicine stories.)