Working with grasshoppers, fruit flies, mice and human cells, the three scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine opened important windows on how all these creatures defend themselves against microbial invaders and refrain from attacking their own cells – except when they don't.
It's intricate and complicated stuff, but the two main concepts you need to know are: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
Note: This report contains an offensive racial epithet. It is an essential part of the story, however.
"Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign pushed back quickly and forcefully Sunday against a Washington Post story that linked Perry to a hunting camp known to some by a racially insensitive name," the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 8:00 am
The Nobel Prize in medicine has been awarded to three scientists whose discoveries about the human immune system "opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases," the Nobel committee announced earlier today.
LYNN NEARY, host: Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work on understanding the immune system. However, it turns out one of the scientists died several days ago, which could mean that he was not eligible for the prize. Joining us now is NPR science correspondent Jon Hamilton.
Thanks for joining us, Jon.
JON HAMILTON: Good to be here.
NEARY: Let's start with this scientist who died. Who was he, and why might his death make him ineligible for the Nobel Prize?
LYNN NEARY, host: Now, the story of some students who arrived as foreigners in Russia. When New York Times reporter Clifford Levy and his wife Julie Dressner moved to Russia five years ago they chose to use the time to fully immerse their children in the country, opting for a Russian education over the local international school.