Trio from USA and Denmark: Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to molecular researcher

Trio from USA and Denmark
Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to molecular researcher

They developed methods for the targeted construction of biomolecules – and for this they have received the world’s most prestigious research award. Two American scientists and a Dane are honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. For one of them it is the second time.

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to two American researchers Carolyn Bertozzi and Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal from Denmark for developing methods for the directional construction of molecules. This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Bertozzi is the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize this year. Sharpless was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001.

Carolyn Bertozzi (US), Morten Meldal (Denmark) and Barry Sharpless (US) receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

(Photo: AP)

According to the Nobel Committee, Sharpless and Meldal laid the foundation for what is known as click chemistry. You share the prize with Bertozzi. She took click chemistry to a new dimension and started using it for cell mapping. She has also conducted research into so-called bioorthogonal reactions.

The concept of click chemistry makes it possible to synthesize molecules from smaller units quickly and in a targeted manner. Click chemistry is said to be used in things like drug development, DNA mapping, and materials manufacturing. For example, researchers have used bioorthogonal responses to improve the targeting of cancer drugs.

Seven women honored since 1901

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to 187 different researchers. One of them, Briton Frederick Sanger, got it twice. So far, seven of the prize winners have been women, including Marie Curie in 1911, who discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium. In 2021, the prize went to German researcher Benjamin List and British-born David WC MacMillan. They had developed an ingenious method to speed up chemical reactions.

This year’s most renowned prize for chemists is endowed with a total of ten million crowns – the equivalent of about 920,000 euros. The awards ceremony traditionally takes place on December 10, the anniversary of the death of founder Alfred Nobel.

On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was awarded to Swedish researcher Svante Pääbo, who works in Leipzig, for his findings on human evolution. Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were named Nobel Prize winners in Physics on Tuesday for their discoveries in quantum technology.

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