Sharpless and Meldal have laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry, click chemistry, where molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started using it in living organisms, the academy said in a statement.
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Carolyn R. Bertozzi and K. Barry Sharpless of the United States and Morten Meldal of Denmark shared the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” the Royal. The Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday.
Sharpless and Meldal have laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry, click chemistry, where molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently.
Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started using it in living organisms, the academy said in a statement.
“This year’s prize in chemistry is about not overcomplicating things, instead working with what is simple and straightforward. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a simple route,” says Johan Aqvist, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.
“I can hardly breathe!” Bertozzi said in the on-site phone interview about her reactions. When she heard the news in the middle of the night, she said, “a shock is an understatement!”
Around the year 2000, Sharpless created the concept of click chemistry, which is a form of simple and reliable chemistry, where reactions occur quickly and unwanted by-products are avoided.
Shortly thereafter, Meldal and Sharpless—independently of each other—presented what is now the crown jewel of click chemistry: the copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition, an elegant and efficient chemical reaction now in widespread use, such as in drug development, to map DNA and create materials which are more fit for purpose, the statement said.
Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new level, the statement said. To map important but elusive biomolecules on the surface of cells, glycans, she developed click reactions that work inside living organisms. Her bioorthogonal reactions take place without disrupting the cell’s normal chemistry, it added.
According to the statement, these reactions are now used globally to explore cells and track biological processes. Using bioorthogonal reactions, researchers have improved the targeting of cancer drugs, which are now being tested in clinical trials. Click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions have taken chemistry into the era of functionalism, providing the greatest benefit to humanity, it was noted.
Bertozzi, born in 1966 in the USA, is a professor at Stanford University in the USA. Meldal, born in 1954 in Denmark, is a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Sharpless, born in 1941 in the USA, is a professor at Scripps Research in the USA.
This year’s prize sum is 10 million Swedish kronor (approximately 920,000 US dollars), to be divided equally between the three prize winners.