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Sir Paul Maxime Nurse, FRS (born 25 January 1949) is a Britishmarker biochemist. He was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Leland H. Hartwell and R. Timothy Hunt for their discoveries regarding cell cycle regulation by cyclin and cyclin dependent kinases.

Nurse's mother came from Norfolk. He was born and raised in Wembleymarker, in north-west Londonmarker, and was educated at Lyon Park school in Alpertonmarker and Harrow County School for Boysmarker. He received his undergraduate degree in 1970 from the University of Birminghammarker and his PhD degree in 1973 from the University of East Angliamarker. Beginning in 1976, Nurse identified the gene cdc2 in yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). This gene controls the progression of the cell cycle from G1 phase to S phase and the transition from G2 phase to mitosis. In 1987, Nurse identified the homologous gene in human, CDK1, which codes for a cyclin dependent kinase.

In 1984, Nurse joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF, now named the Cancer Research UK London Research Institutemarker). He left in 1988 to chair the department of microbiology at the University of Oxfordmarker. He then returned to the ICRF as Director of Research in 1993, and in 1996 was named Director General of the ICRF, which became the Cancer Research UK London Research Institutemarker in 2002. In his position of Director General, he earns £140,000 per annum. This is the second biggest salary of any chief executive of a UK charity, after the chief executive of the Royal Opera Housemarker. In 2003, he became president of Rockefeller Universitymarker in New York Citymarker where he continues to work on the cell cycle of fission yeast.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Nurse has received numerous awards and honours. In 1989, he became a fellow of the Royal Society and in 1995 he received a Royal Medal and became a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciencesmarker. He received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1998. Nurse was knighted in 1999. He was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur in 2002. He was also awarded the Copley Medal in 2005. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker one of the top honours in April 2006.

Nurse tells the topsy-turvy story of his parents and grandparents—and how even a leading geneticist can be fooled by family histories—in the July 27, 2009 episode (MP3) of The Moth podcast, a storytelling roundtable.


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