Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Morten Meldal, Carolyn R. Bertozzi, K. Barry Sharpless

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been jointly awarded to Carolyn Bertozzi, Morton Meldal and Barry Sharpless for their work on snipping molecules together, known as click chemistry. “Click” chemistry is about linking together molecules like those in living cells. Their work is used to explore cells and track biological processes and can be applied in cancer treatment drugs.

Johan Aqvist, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden today. The Nobel committee praised their work for making chemistry functional and said they had an enormous impact on science.

Americans Carolyn Bertozzi and Barry Sharpless, and Danish scientist Morten Meldal were cited for their work on click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions. These are used to make cancer drugs, map DNA and create materials that are tailored to a specific purpose.

Eighty-one-year-old Sharpless, who previously won a Nobel Prize in 2001 and is now the fifth person to receive the award twice, first proposed the idea of connecting molecules using chemical “buckles” around the turn of the millennium.

Sixty-eight-year-old Meldal is based at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Sharpless is affiliated with Scripps Research, California.

Fifty-five-year-old Bertozzi is based at Stanford University in California.

The Nobel prize in Literature will be announced tomorrow and Nobel Peace Prize will be made official on Friday.

Nobel Prizes for Medicine and Physics have already been announced.