Alumnus David Julius shares Nobel Prize for work on pain receptors

October 4, 2021

David Julius, one of today’s winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was a standout even as a graduate student at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and ’80s, according to one of his mentors, 2013 Nobel laureate Randy Schekman.

Among our most talented Ph.D. students over many decades, David stands out for his originality, focus and determination,” said Schekman, a Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology, adding that, “Unlike many people of his level of accomplishment, David is personally sweet and charming and generous in his treatment of others.”

Julius, now professor and chair of the Department of Physiology at UC San Francisco and the Morris Herzstein Chair in Molecular Biology and Medicine, shared the prize with Ardem Patapoutian, professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Scripps Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch,” according to the Nobel Committee 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Berkeley News