The 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to two physician-chemists "for studies of G-protein-coupled-receptors," proteins that sense compounds outside the cell and activate important signals and cell responses. "[GPCRs are] a door into the house," said Krishna Rajarathnam, a biochemist at UTMB. "It's like turning a key. … Any discoveries and any treatments can't happen without advances in basic sciences like the ones these two pioneers were able to do."