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Royal Society congratulates Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS

07 October 2019

William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza. Illustration: Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Media

The Royal Society offers its congratulations to the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019, including Fellow of the Society, Sir Peter Ratcliffe.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has jointly awarded this year’s prize to Sir Peter, alongside Professor William Kaelin Jr and Professor Gregg Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability."

Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society said, “I am delighted to hear that Royal Society Fellow Sir Peter Ratcliffe has been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine this year. We offer our congratulations to him and to Professors Kaelin and Semenza, who share the prize.

“Oxygen is the vital ingredient for the survival of every cell in our bodies, too little – or too much – can spell disaster. Understanding how evolution has equipped cells to detect and respond to fluctuating oxygen levels helps answer fundamental questions about how animal life emerged. But as Dr Ratcliffe’s work at the University of Oxford and the Francis Crick Institute shows us, it also gives insights into the way these processes continue to shape our health and wellbeing, and suggests new ways to treat conditions like heart disease and cancer.

“It is a richly deserved honour for each of the researchers recognised today, and underscores the depth of talent in the UK as well as the fact that advancing scientific understanding is so often an international endeavour.”

Sir Peter Ratcliffe has previously won the Royal Society’s Buchanan Medal (2017).

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