On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to scientists Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and Barry Sharpless. These three scientists were recognized for their discovery of reactions that allow molecules to snap together to create desired compounds and that offer insight into cell biology.
According to a statement released by the organization that bestowed the award, the technologies known as click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry are currently employed all over the world to investigate cells and monitor biological processes.
According to the report, “researchers have enhanced the targeting of cancer medications using bioorthogonal processes, and these improvements are currently being tested in clinical trials.”
The prize was given out by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and it is valued at 10 million Swedish crowns, which is equivalent to $915,072 USD.
Sharpless is now a member of an extremely select group of scientists who have been awarded two Nobel Prizes. The other recipients are as follows: John Bardeen, who was awarded the Physics prize twice; Marie Curie, who was awarded the Physics prize in addition to the Chemistry prize; Linus Pauling, who was awarded the Chemistry prize in addition to the Peace prize; and Frederick Sanger, who was awarded the Chemistry prize twice.
After the academy called Bertozzi in California to tell her she had won, Bertozzi remarked from her location in California, “I’m sitting here and I can not breathe.” She added that she was “totally stunned” by the news.
She went on to say that as a result of her study, she and her colleagues were able to visualize and comprehend the structures on the cell surface known as glycans, which led to a novel concept in the field of cancer immuno therapy.
Bertozzi is employed by Stanford University, while Sharpless is employed by the Scripps Research Institute, both of which are located in the state of California. Meldal is employed by the University of Copenhagen, which is located in the country of Denmark.
Meldal stated to Reuters that when the Nobel committee contacted, he felt exhilaration spread throughout his body, beginning with his legs.
“It is not every day that a Dane gets the Nobel Prize,” he said, adding that he had been recording a teaching video when he received the news and that he was very proud on behalf of his colleagues and team.
Meldal characterized click-chemistry as a method for constructing complicated structures and connecting them together as if they were parts of Lego, which is a toy that is made of plastic that is made in Denmark.
Benjamin List, who was born in Germany, and David MacMillan, who was born in Scotland, were awarded the 2021 chemistry prize for their work in developing new methods and apparatuses for the construction of molecules. Their contributions helped in the creation of new pharmaceuticals as well as advancements in fields such as plastics.
Since 1901, the Swedish dynamite inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel, who was himself a scientist, has been honored for his contributions to the fields of science, literature, and peace with awards that have been given out annually since his death. Economics was tacked on in a later stage.
The rewards have been given out on a yearly basis with just a few exceptions, most notably during the two world wars; however, they did not take a break during the COVID-19 epidemic, despite the fact that the majority of the pageantry and festivities were either postponed or transferred temporarily online.