The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three scientists who harnessed the power of evolution to help humankind.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has finally announced the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Half of the award was given to American Frances Arnold for her work in the “directed evolution of enzymes.” The other half was awarded to American George Smith and British researcher Sir Gregory Winter for their work on the “phage display of peptides and antibodies.”
“This year’s Chemistry Laureates have taken control of evolution and used the same principles – genetic change and selection – to develop proteins that solve humankind’s chemical problems,” the Nobel Prize organizers said in a tweet.
Smith is the Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He developed the phage display, a method that utilizes the virus known as bacteriophage to evolve new proteins.
Winter, the other prize winner, is currently the Research Leader Emeritus at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. He used Smith’s phage display to create new pharmaceuticals that lead to the development of antibodies that can neutralize toxins, cure metastatic cancer, and fight autoimmune diseases.
Last but not the least is Arnold who’s the fifth woman to receive the prize since its inception in 1901. She’s the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Her work on directed evolution enzymes has revolutionized the manufacturing industry.
“We are in the early days of directed evolution’s revolution which, in many different ways, is bringing and will bring the greatest benefit to humankind,” the academy went on to say.
Last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson for their outstanding work on cryo-electron microscopy.