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He received his undergraduate degree in 1970 from the University of Birmingham and his PhD in 1973 from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia. Nurse is the 2007 recipient of the Hope Funds Award of Excellence in Basic Research. These proteins are called checkpoints because they check whether the cell has divided properly.
He was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Leland H. Nurse also found the corresponding gene CDK1 in humans. If the cell doesn't divide correctly other proteins will attempt to repair it and if unsuccessful they will destroy the cell.