3 scientists awarded chemistry Nobel Prize - 10/3/2018 5:22:34 AM

Jan Cross
October 6, 2018

On Tuesday, the Royal Academy of Sciences awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics to Arthur Ashkin of United States and jointly to Gerard Mourou (US) and Donna Strickland (Canada) for their groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.

Two Americans and a Briton won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday for harnessing the power of evolution to generate novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents to cancer drugs.

Arnold, the fifth woman to win the prize in chemistry, was awarded half of the 9 million Swedish crown (1 million dollars) prize while Smith and Winter shared the other half.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three scientists for their discoveries in enzyme research.

Smith, a professor at the University of Missouri, won for a technique known as "phage display", which uses bacteriophage - a virus that infects bacteria - to evolve new proteins.

The first pharmaceutical based on this method, adalimumab, was approved in 2002 and is used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

The news reached Chancellor Alexander Cartwright while he was returning from Thailand.

Smith, meanwhile, credited others for the work that led to his breakthrough.

After repeatedly screening and mutating those microbes, she could use them to build a more powerful version of a desired protein. "Mine was an idea in a line of research that built very naturally on the lines of research that went before". This year's laureates have "recreated the process in their test tubes. and make evolution many times faster".

He gave an example of a bee. "And that, in part, is because she is an engineer in how she thinks".

"The experimenter creates the artificial selection conditions", he said, where as "an engineer designs things with a goal and a lot of knowledge".

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Dr Smith, 77, was a professor for 40 years at the University of Missouri at the Division of Biological Sciences. It's the first time a professor at Mizzou, doing research on campus, has won such a prestigious award.

Arnold's innovative research on directed evolution has driven progress in both renewable energy and in pharmaceuticals. Their findings enabled large-scale production of specific antibodies, which have made new treatments possible for autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other conditions.

In nature, evolution proceeds slowly as random genetic mutations generate variety in organisms and proteins, and those versions that work best in their environment persist for future generations.

He's expected to receive $250,000 in prize money.

When she began her new approach, "some people looked down their noses at it", Arnold told the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation. Others now commonly use it to create new enzymes.

"This year's prize in chemistry rewards a revolution based on evolution. George Smith is a remarkable man". We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

Arnold also is the second person this week with ties to San Diego to win the Nobel.

"And at first, of course, I thought it was one of my sons, with a problem", says Arnold. "Yes, I am in favor of making sure we do as much as we can for our successful faculty".

He said he learned of the prize in a pre-dawn phone call from Stockholm.

- The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science will be announced Monday in Sweden.

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