Unilever today announced that it had awarded its €250,000 Science Prize to David Julius, Professor of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Professor Julius, who was
chosen for the award by a panel of distinguished scientists, was awarded the Prize for his work on the molecular understanding of how humans sense temperature.
Professor Julius will be presented with the Prize on May 9th by Unilever’s Group Chief Executive, Patrick Cescau, in the presence of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange, at
Unilever’s Vitality Symposium in Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.
The Unilever Science Prize is offered to an outstanding scientist in the field of life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, nutrition science, medicine or combinations thereof, whose
work contributes to Unilever’s Mission to add vitality to life.
The €250 000 awarded with the science prize is to be used for scientific research. The prize demonstrates Unilever’s commitment to scientific excellence that drives breakthrough
innovations that help people to look good, feel good and get more out of life.
Notes to editors
Professor Julius identified and characterised the receptors for capsaicin, the pungent ingredient in hot chilli peppers and the cooling compound menthol. These receptors are also activated by
hot or cold temperatures respectively, thereby revealing a unifying mechanism of how the peripheral nervous system detects temperature.
Breakthroughs in these fields are important for our research that is aimed at providing multisensory stimuli through our Foods and HPC products in a controlled manner. For example can we
deliver a preferred temperature sensation as part of a multisensory exposure without necessarily using menthol or capsaicin.
His research also has a major impact in elucidating pathways that contribute to acute and chronic pain, especially in the context of tissue injury and inflammation. This can in turn lead to
novel targets for the design of analgesic drugs.
The committee of distinguished scientists who selected Professor Julius for the Prize were:
Prof. Dr. Tony Cheetham, University of California Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
Prof. Dr. Bert Meijer, Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Linda Buck, University of Washington, Washington, U.S.A.
Prof. Sir Harold Kroto, Florida State University, Florida, U.S.A.
Prof. Michael Gibney, University of Dublin, Ireland
Prof. Dr. C.N.R. Rao, President of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India
For further information please contact:
Gerbert van Genderen Stort, press officer Media Relations: 31-(0)10-217484