Sometimes chemistry just clicks and the building blocks of life are assembled easily, quickly and efficiently.
On Wednesday morning, Stanford University scientist Carolyn Bertozzi was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It has been recognized for harnessing this technology to create entirely new areas of research, inspiring new pharmaceuticals, materials for energy storage, and other applications.
Bertozzi shares the $1 million prize with K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research in La Jolla. He holds a PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University and collaborated with Danish scientist Morten Meldal at the University of Copenhagen.
The trio’s discoveries “brought chemistry into the age of functionalism,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
At my home in Palo Alto, I was awakened at 1:43 a.m. by a phone call from a representative of the Nobel Committee for a Wednesday morning press conference. The award was presented one week before her 56th birthday.
Her memory of the phone is mostly hazy, she said. But the last piece of advice was a surprise. “So enjoy the last hours of your previous life, because then your new life will begin.”
Her first call was to her 91-year-old father, a retired physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which inspired her love of science. A night owl, he was awake watching TV.
“When a kid calls you at 2 a.m., it’s usually bad news,” she joked. And he paused for a moment, then guessed.”
The field of “click chemistry” was developed by two-time Nobel laureates Sharpless and Meldall. Their insights have sparked research in chemical biology that explores how reactions within cells are linked.
Bertozzi advanced the field by discovering “click reactions” that do not interfere with or interact with natural biochemical processes. She named this new process “bioorthogonal chemistry” and opened the door to studying the chemistry that occurs in living cells. This is a very complicated place.
“We developed pairs of chemical groups, and those pairs are perfectly compatible with each other,” she explained. “When they meet, they want to react and bond. And they love each other so much that they can surround those chemical groups with thousands of other chemicals.” ignore it and find each other.
Such conjugation makes it possible, for example, to bind light-emitting compounds to biomolecules within cells. There are no reactions that would mess up the biochemistry of the cells. Chemists can then peer into the internal mechanics of the cell.
“Carolyn invented a new way to study molecular processes in biomedicine, which is really helping scientists around the world to better understand chemical reactions and living systems,” says Stanford University’s Dean and neuroscientist Mark Tessier Lavigne said: “The impact of her work on the real world is profound and far-reaching.”
She is the 21st Nobel Prize winner in the academic community at Stanford University. Since the founding of the university, she has produced 36 Nobel laureates.
Bertozzi has already made a name for himself in the biotech industry, co-founding at least seven companies, including Redwood Bioscience in Emeryville and Enable Biosciences in South San Francisco.
A freshman at Harvard, Bertozzi didn’t like chemistry in general. So she was able to prepare for her sophomore organic chemistry course, which is notoriously demanding. “I just grinded it out and went into that class with the full expectation of suffering like everyone else,” she said.
But she was in awe of the shape and behavior of three-dimensional molecules. She said, “It was a great course. By the time she got out of college, she knew it was what she wanted to do.”
To relax, she played keyboards and sang backing vocals in a heavy metal rock band called Bored of Education.
A native of Boston, Bertozzi had never traveled west until he toured the graduate chemistry schools at Caltech, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Her encounter with the Bay Area was life-changing for her. Sitting on the back of her motorcycle, she was taken on her exhilarating journey across the Bay Bridge to hear her music in San Francisco, and she vowed to stay.
She chose UC Berkeley for her PhD. She arrived just as the university’s chemistry department was launching a field now called chemical biology.
After doing postdoctoral research in the Immunology Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, she became a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a professor of nanotechnology at the Department of Energy at Berkeley Lab. Became director of the Molecular Foundry, a scientific user facility. She founded the Foundry’s Biological Nanostructures Facility, where scientists study the synthesis, analysis, and mimicking of biological nanostructures.
“The chemistry she developed enabled the engineering of biological-non-biological interfaces, a frontier in nanoscience that has become a major theme for Foundry,” said Berkeley Lab Associate Director of Energy Sciences. One Jeff Neaton said:
It was at Berkeley that she developed a pioneering field of “bioorthogonal chemistry” based on the work of Meldall and Sharpless. Previously, “there was simply no way to study specific biological processes,” said Bertozzi. “They were invisible to scientists.”
Visited Stanford University in 2015. The university invested heavily in chemical his biology with the construction of a new laboratory, ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering and Medicine for Human Health), dedicated to uniting chemistry, engineering and medicine to better understand humans. I was investing. health and disease treatment. Bertozzi saw an opportunity to contribute from scratch.
Stanford had another big draw, but it was missing at UC Berkeley. It’s medical school. This meant that her research could be more closely linked to clinical science.
Bertozzi currently directs ChEM-H. Within her institute, she directs a predoctoral program in Chemistry and Biology Interfaces that helps train graduate students to bridge the gap between basic science and research.
She also co-founded Target Discovery’s college post-baccalaureate program, preparing recent college graduates from diverse and historically inadequate backgrounds to apply for doctoral degree programs in science.
A prolific mentor, she has advised over 250 Stanford University undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. She is also a parent and still relaxes by playing pop, rock and roll and jazz piano.
On Wednesday, she thanked students and postdocs for “taking the chance and joining my lab.” ”
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/10/05/how-a-stanford-chemist-nabbed-the-nobel/ Stanford University Chemist Wins Nobel Prize