2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 was awarded to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura and Youyou Tu.  

William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura shared one-half of the prize for their discoveries of a new drug, Avermectin, that was highly effective against a spectrum of parasitic worm infections.  The derivatives of this compound are currently being used to eradicate and prevent the transmission of River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.

Youyou Tu was awarded the other half of the Nobel Prize for her discovery of Artemisinin, a drug that has become a frontline treatment for malaria and has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from this disease worldwide.

In celebration, NPG is making available a range of articles from its journal archives that feature these scientists’ remarkable achievements and highlight recent progress in these fields. 


Entry of the antimalarial drug precursor semi-synthetic artemisinin into industrial production is the first major milestone for the application of synthetic biology. In this Review, Paddon and Keasling discuss the metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches that were used to engineer Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to synthesize a precursor of artemisinin, which should aid the development of other pharmaceutical products.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Microbiology

Long ignored by pharmaceutical companies and global health agencies alike, 'neglected tropical diseases' devastate people in the poorest parts of the world. But they're finally getting the attention they deserve, reports Apoorva Mandavilli.

News | | Nature Medicine

The screening of natural products for lead molecules is an attractive strategy, as most natural products fall within biologically relevant chemical space. In this Review, Harvey, Edrada-Ebel and Quinn discuss how advanced screening, metabolomics and metagenomics approaches can be used in the identification, validation and production of naturally sourced compounds, and highlight examples of naturally derived antimicrobials and inhibitors of protein–protein interactions.

Review Article | | Nature Reviews Drug Discovery