Prof. Ardem Patapoutian

YEREVAN (Public Radio of Armenia) — Nobel Laureate Prof. Ardem Patapoutian was in Armenia this week, receiving much attention, including an honorary degree and membership in the National Academy of Science.

On June 9, the General Assembly of the National Academy of Sciences elected the prominent American-Armenian molecular biologist-neurobiologist as an honorary member.

Patapoutian has made outstanding achievements in the field of molecular biology and neurophysiology. In 2021 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of receptors for temperature and touch.

Patapoutian was also named Honorary Doctor of the Yerevan State Medical University (YSMU).

Prof. Ardem Patapoutian receiving an honorary doctorate from Yerevan State University

In his opening remarks YSMU Rector Armen Muradyan emphasized that the day is special, as the only Nobel Prize laureate of Armenian descent will deliver a speech in the hall of the century-old university.

The scholar was also named into the Advisory Board of the COBRAIN Scientific-Educational Center for Fundamental Brain Research. Two of the seven Board members are now Nobel Prize laureates.

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A descendent of Armenian Genocide survivors, Patapoutian revolutionized the field of neurobiology.

“What we have done is basic science just to discover how we sense touch, pain, blood pressure, etc. Everything has to do with pressure. But these scientific discoveries will take ten0twenty years to translate into hopefully future medicine, whether it is to block chronic pain or regulate blood pressure, or other areas we didn’t think about right now,” he told reporters at the Yerevan State Medical University.

“The beauty of basic science is that the translation will come with time and in directions that we might not have thought about early on,” he added.

On June 14, one postage stamp dedicated to the theme “World famous Armenians: Ardem Patapoutian” was put into circulation.

The postage stamp with the nominal value of 350 drams depicts Patapoutian. The stamp was cancelled by the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Arayik Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia David Sahakyan, the Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia Karen Trchunyan, the Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia Ani Ispiryan, the Chief Executive Officer of “HayPost” CJSC Hayk Karapetyan, Patapoutian and  the President of the Philatelists’ Armenian Association Hovik Musayelyan.

Pataputyan was born in 1967 in Beirut. In 1986 he moved to the United States. In 1990 he received a bachelor’s degree in cell development biology from the University of California, and in 1996 he did his PhD in biology at the California Institute of Technology.

In 2000 he became a lecturer at the Scripps Research Institute. From 2000 to 2014 he worked as a researcher at the Novartis Research Foundation, and from 2014 at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Patapoutian heads the Scripps Research Endowed Chair in Neurobiology at Scripps Research.

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