The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”
2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The power of evolution is revealed through the diversity of life. The 2018 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind. Enzymes produced through directed evolution are used to manufacture everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals. Antibodies evolved using a method called phage display can combat autoimmune diseases and, in some cases, cure metastatic cancer.
1 Frances H. Arnold:
Frances H. Arnold, born 1956 in Pittsburgh, USA. Ph.D. 1985, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA. In 1993, she conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. Since then, she has refined the methods that are now routinely used to develop new catalysts. The uses of Frances Arnold’s enzymes include more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemical substances, such as pharmaceuticals, and the production of renewable fuels for a greener transport sector.
2 George P. Smith
George P. Smith, born 1941 in Norwalk, USA. Ph.D. 1970, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA. In 1985, George Smith developed an elegant method known as phage display, where a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – can be used to evolve new proteins.
3 Sir Gregory P. Winter
Sir Gregory P. Winter, born 1951 in Leicester, UK. Ph.D. 1976. University of Cambridge, UK. Research Leader Emeritus, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. Gregory Winter used phage display for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals.
Prize motivation: “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”
This year’s Nobel Laureates have been inspired by the power of evolution and used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems.
Prize amount: 9 million Swedish krona, with one half to Frances Arnold and the other half to be shared between George Smith and Gregory Winter.
Further information: www.kva.se and http://www.nobelprize.org