Prof Hall, alongside Michael Rosbash and Michael Young, won the prize after finding “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm” using fruit flies.
Born in 1945 at New York NY, USA, Jeffrey C. Hall was awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine shortly after leaving science due to lack of funding. His affiliation at the time of the award was with the University of Maine, Maine, ME, USA. The prize motivation was: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” He along with two other shared the 1 /3 of the award. Jeffrey Hall had left science 10 years ago but won the prize for his work on biological body clocks in 2017. He is a retired professor who left science due to a lack of funding and an increase in “institutional corruption”. Jeffrey C Hall was one of three American scientists to win the prize in the physiology or medicine category after their discovery of biological clocks in living organisms. Prof Hall, alongside Michael Rosbash and Michael Young, won the prize after finding “molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm” using fruit flies. It would be informative to know that these internal biological clocks help regulate sleep patterns, feeding behaviour, hormone release and blood pressure in animals. During an interview in 2008, Prof Hall issued sarcastic remarks about funding and how it is allocated for research.
Sir Paul said, “It’s important for the basic understanding of life. livery living organism on this planet responds to the sun. All plant and also animal behaviour is determined by the light-dark cycle. We on this planet are slaves to the sun. The circadian clock is embedded in our mechanisms of working, our metabolism, it’s embedded everywhere, it’s a real core feature for understanding life. There’s a second reason. We are increasingly becoming aware that there are implications for human disease. With the modem technological age, we get more and more divorced from the circadian rhythm, as we are able to travel across time zones and disturb our circadian rhythm. We can now live in light-dark regimes that are nothing to do with the circadian rhythm. This is leading to conditions like jet lag which are disturbing and may in turn also lead to other consequences that we don’t fully understand about the It human condition. There is some evidence that treatment of disease can be influenced by circadian rhythms too. People have reported that when you have surgery or when you have a drug can actually influence things. It’s still not clear, but there will almost certainly be some implications for the treatment of disease too.”
Dr. Hall is an American geneticist and chronobiologist also a Professor Emeritus of Biology at Brandeis University who presently resides in Cambridge. Maine. Hall spent his career examining the neurological component of fly courtship and behavioural rhythms. Through his research on the neurology and behaviour of Drosophila melanogaster. Hall uncovered essential mechanisms of biological clocks and shed light on the foundations for sexual differentiation in the nervous system, lie was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his revolutionary work in the field of chronobiology. Along with Michael W. Young and Michael Rosbash, he was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”.
The prized winner Jeffrey Hall was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C., while his father worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, covering the U.S. Senate. Hall’s father, Joseph W. Hall, greatly influenced him especially by encouraging Hall to stay updated on recent events in the daily newspaper. As a good high school student, Hall planned to pursue a career in medicine. Hall began pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Amherst College in 1963. However, during his time as an undergraduate student. Hall found his passion in biology. For his senior project, to gain experience in formal research, Hall began working with Philip Ives. Hall reported that Ives was one of the most influential people he encountered during his formative years. Hall became fascinated with the study of Drosophila while working in Ives’ lab. a passion that has permeated his research. Under the supervision of Ives, Hall studied recombination and translocation induction in Drosophila. The success of Hall’s research pursuits prompted department faculty to recommend that Hall pursue graduate school at University of Washington in Seattle, where the entire biology department was devoted to genetics.
Hall started working in Laurence Sandler’s laboratory during graduate school in 1967. He had to work with Sandler on analysing age-dependent enzyme changes in Drosophila, with a concentration on the genetic control of chromosome behaviour in meiosis. Hershel Roman encouraged Hall to pursue postdoctoral work with Seymour Benzer, a pioneer in forward genetics, at the California Institute of Technology. In an interview. Hall regarded Roman as an influential figure in his early career for Roman fostered camaraderie in the laboratory and guided nascent professionals. Upon completing his doctoral work, Hall joined Benzer’s laboratory in 1971.
In Bcnzer’s lab, Hall worked with Doug Kankel who taught Hall about Drosophila neuroanatomy and neurochemistry. Although Hall and Kankel made great progress on two projects. Hall left Benzer’s laboratory before publishing results. In Hall’s third year as a postdoctoral researcher, Roman contacted Hall regarding faculty positions that Roman had advocated for Hall. Hall joined Brandeis University as an Assistant Professor of Biology in 1974. He is known for his eccentric lecturing style. During his time working in the field of chronobiology. Hall faced many challenges when attempting to establish his findings. Specifically, his genetic approach to biological clocks was not easily accepted by more traditional chrono-biologists. When conducting his research on this particular topic. Hall faced scepticism when trying to establish the importance of a sequence of amino acids he isolated. While working on this project the only other researcher working on a similar project was Michael Young.
When attempting to establish his own work, Hall not only faced hurdles, but also found the politics of research funding frustrating. In fact, these challenges are one of the primary reasons why he left the field. He felt that the hierarchy and entry expectations of biology are preventing researchers from pursuing the research they desire. Hall believed the focus should be on the individual’s research: funding should not be a limiting factor on the scientist, but instead give them the flexibility to pursue new interests and hypotheses. Hall expressed that he loves his research and flies, yet feels that the bureaucracy involved in the process prevented him from excelling and making new strides in the field.
In the late 1970s, through a collaborative work with Florian von Schilcher, Hall successfully identified the nervous system regions in Drosophila that contributed to the regulation of male’s courtship songs. Hall realized from this study that courtship singing behaviour was one of the elegantly quantifiable features of courtship and decided to study this topic further. In the subsequent research with a postdoctoral fellow in his lab. Bambos Kyriacou, Hall discovered that Drosophila courtship song was produced rhythmically with a normal period of about one minute. In his research. Hall mainly focused on fruitless, which he began studying during his postdoctoral years. The fruitless (fru) mutant was behaviourally sterile. Furthermore, they indiscriminately courted both females and males, but did not try to mate with either. This behaviour was identified in the 1960s. but it had been neglected until Hall’s group began to investigate the topic further. In the mid-1990s. through a collaborative work with Bruce Baker at Stanford University and Barbara Taylor at Stanford University, Hall successfully cloned fruitless. Through subsequent research with the cloned fruitless, Hall confirmed the previously suspected role of fruitless as the master regulator gene for courtship. By examining several Fru mutations, Hall discovered that males performed little to no courtship toward females, failed to produce the pulse song component of courtship song, never attempted copulation and exhibited increased inter-male courtship in the absence of FruM proteins.
Hall worked primarily with Drosophila to study the mechanism of circadian rhythms. Rather than using the more traditional method of measuring eclosion. Hall measured locomotor activity of Drosophila to observe circadian rhythms.