Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless become the 2022 Chemistry Nobel Laureates. They equally share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions to the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Their research has widespread applications in development of cancer pharmaceuticals among others in health, agriculture and industry.
What is click chemistry and who thought of such a thing?
Did you ever find it difficult to draw or construct complicated chemical structures? Well, according to Danish chemist from the University of Copenhagen, Morten Meldal, it is as easy and fun of a task as joining pieces of Lego. It was around the year 2000, that Barry Sharpless (currently affiliated to Scripps Research Institute) for the first time introduced something what is called “click chemistry”. It was him and Meldal who went on to lay its foundation in the coming years. Click chemistry is a functional and reliable form of chemistry where chemical reactions occur quickly and efficiently, meaning you can avoid getting any unwanted by-products and improve the yield.
Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless independently worked on what is popularly known as the “crown jewel of click chemistry”: the copper catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition. This elegant and important reaction has a plethora of uses in the pharmaceuticals industry, for mapping DNA and designing materials that are more fit for a certain purpose. The method is employed globally to learn more about cells and track various biological processes.
Notably, it was Carolyn Bertozzi, currently a professor at Stanford University, who lent her hand in to take the art of click chemistry into a new dimension. In an attempt to map and understand the role of some elusive biomolecules, namely glycans, on the surface of biological cells, she developed click reactions that work inside living organisms. Moreover, these reactions do not interfere in any way with the native biochemical processes inside the living cell. Such reactions are known in the literature as a part of “bioorthogonal chemistry”, first coined by Bertozzi in the year 2003. They are also being used to study proteins and lipids in real time inside living biological cells without any toxic effects to the cell.
Sharpless wins it twice
In a noteworthy as well as rare occurrence, Barry Sharpless has received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the second time, first time being in the year 2001 when he shared half the prize “for his work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions”. He now joins an elite group of significant individuals who have been awarded the prize twice and is the fifth such laureate after John Bardeen, Marie Skłodowska Curie, Linus Pauling and Frederick Sanger.
For more detailed information, you can read the attached Advanced Scientific Description herewith.
What about the rest of the Nobel Prizes awarded in 2022?
Nobel Prize Winner Svante Paabo | Nobel Prize In Physiology or Medicine 2022
Nobel Prize In Physics 2022 | Alain Aspect, John Clauser And Anton Zeilinger Win Physics Nobel
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2022 | US Trio Bags the Award
Akshat Mishra holds a Masters in Physics from DAE - Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai. He feels the need to explore the depths of the not-so-dark universe while at the same time watch the quanta in action. Electronic Music is what puts him in the thinking zone.