John O'Keefe And Husband-Wife Team Win Nobel Prize In Medicine

The Nobel Foundation has awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize jointly to John O’Keefe and husband-wife team May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for “their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.”

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In 1971, O’Keefe found that a type of nerve in the brain’s hippocampus was always “on” when a rat was in a specific place — he called the nerve that was activated a “place cell.”

More than three decades later, in 2005, husband-wife team May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered “grid cell,” which together with O’Keefe’s “place cells” explain how our brain makes a map of the surrounding environment and how we are able to navigate these places. 

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