The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 was on Wednesday awarded to three scientists for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.
They included two Americans: 55-year-old professor, Carolyn Bertozzi and 81-year-old PhD holder, Barry Sharpless, both of Stanford University.
The third recipient of the prize is a 68-year-old Danish professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Morten Meldal.
In a statement on its website, the organisation said Sharpless and Meldal laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry (click chemistry) in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently while Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms.
The statement read in part, “Barry Sharpless, who is now being awarded his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry, started the ball rolling. Around the year 2000, he coined 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 afterwards, Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless, independently of each other, presented what is now the crown jewel of click chemistry: the copper catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition. This is an elegant and efficient chemical reaction that is now in widespread use. Among many other uses, it is utilised in the development of pharmaceuticals, for mapping DNA and for creating materials that are more fit for purpose.
“Carolyn Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new level. 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 normal chemistry of the cell.”
The Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, Johan Åqvist, said, “This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route.”
The prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor will be sh