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2017 Nobel Chemistry Prize Awarded for Developments in Cryo-electron Microscopy

Posted on October 4th, 2017 by in Chemistry

Nobel PRize

One of the year’s most exciting moments for the global chemistry community is here today, as The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has made its choice for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017. The prize has been awarded to Jacques Dubochet (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Joachim Frank (Columbia University, USA) and Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK) for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.

Through their work over the last few decades, these three scientists have revolutionized biochemistry by making it possible to clearly see images of biomolecules mid-movement. This microscopic technology is a major achievement because researchers are now able to visualize protein structures and molecular processes that were previously invisible, allowing them to better understand the chemistry of life.

The technique is still in development, so most of its potential—which includes the development of pharmaceuticals—is yet to be seen. However, the New York Times reports that it is already powering some advances as “Last year, scientists were able to use cryo-electron microscopy to analyze the structure of the Zika virus … the same technique was used to figure out the structure of proteins involved with circadian rhythms.”

To learn more about this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and about cryo-electron microscopy, click here.

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All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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