Actually there's a contest on PZ's blog to guess this, really it's a yearly link to the place that actually runs the guesses, and I keep overestimating the turn around time on Nobel Prizes. Last year I even posted that Perlmutter was too soon as I guessed that guy who invented LEDs. And I was pretty sure that Shinya Yamanaka was a few years off. Perlmutter won last year and Yamanaka just won.
He made a reset switch for cells. You can now make a skin cell into a stem cell. America might have figured it out first, but we were prevented from doing stem cell research, during the Bush years. And that's how you figure this stuff out. You look at the stuff doing the stuff and see if you can force it to do that stuff.