The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.”
Bertozzi was the Molecular Foundry’s Director from 2006 to 2010 and is the eighth woman to be awarded the prize. (She is now a professor of chemistry at Stanford University.)
According to today’s Nobel Prize announcement, “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 is about making difficult processes easier. Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal have laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry – click chemistry – in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Carolyn Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms.”
“Carolyn Bertozzi had a profound impact at Berkeley Lab, not only through her brilliant science, but as someone who created new institutions that encouraged team science,” said Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell.
By pioneering a method for mapping biomolecules on the surface of cells, Bertozzi helped create a suite of techniques comprising “bioorthogonal chemistry,” a term Bertozzi coined, which means “not interacting with biology.” The method describes chemical reactions that allow scientists to explore cells and track biological processes without disrupting the normal chemistry of the cell.