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Nobel Prize award Chemistry-2022

-Karthik Gurumurthy

This year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was once again awarded to three scientists, all of whom contributed significantly to the field of "click chemistry" and bioorthogonal chemistry:

  • Carolyn R. Bertozzi: American, received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1993. Currently, she holds the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professorship at Stanford University and is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
  • Morten Meldal: Danish, earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Technical University of Denmark in 1986. He is presently a Professor at the University of Copenhagen.
  • K. Barry Sharpless: American, obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University in 1968. He continues to serve as the W. M. Keck Professor at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. Interestingly, this was Sharpless' second Nobel Prize in Chemistry, making him only the fifth person to achieve this feat.

These three individuals were jointly recognized for their groundbreaking work on "click chemistry," a concept developed by Sharpless that involves creating simple and reliable chemical reactions for joining molecules together. Bertozzi further expanded this concept by developing "bioorthogonal reactions" that can occur inside living organisms, paving the way for studying biological processes at the molecular level. Their combined efforts revolutionized chemical synthesis and offered powerful tools for drug discovery, diagnostics, and other applications.

  • Sharpless laid the foundation for click chemistry by identifying key principles for fast and efficient reactions with minimal side-products.
  • Meldal independently discovered an essential click reaction involving cycloaddition, demonstrating its versatility and expanding its potential applications.
  • Bertozzi took click chemistry from the lab to living organisms by developing bioorthogonal reactions that work specifically within biological systems. This enabled her to map important molecules on cell surfaces and develop tools for targeting cancer cells.



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