Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Chemistry Nobel Prize Goes to Frances Arnold, George Smith and Gregory Winter

Theresa Hayes | 04 October, 2018, 07:59

The 2018 Nobel Prize laureates for Chemistry are shown on the screen during the announcement.

Smith is also a pro-Palestinian activist and has several anti-Israeli groups such as the Jewish Voice for Peace, which describes itself as an American organization seeking to end "the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem [al-Quds]".

Two of the three winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry have virtually polar opposite political connections to Israel: One is actively anti-Israel, while the other promotes ties between Israel and the UK.

Frances Arnold performed the first "directed evolution" of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyse chemical reactions.

Smith created a process that helped develop new drugs that are now being used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. She received half of the award, while the other half was divided between George Smith of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Sir Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge "for the phage display of peptides and antibodies".

Smith's development of phage display to link proteins to genes was described by the academy as "brilliant in its simplicity".

"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", said the academy.

"Very few research breakthroughs are novel". Today, phage display of antibodies can be used to treat diseases as varied as metastatic cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases and anthrax poisoning.

In other Nobel prizes this year, the medicine prize went Monday to James Allison of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University, who developed an approach for unleashing the immune system on cancers, helping doctors fight many advanced-stage cancer tumors.

Strickland is an associate professor of physics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and many have noted that her academic rank does not appear to reflect the significance of her work.

Life on Earth exists because over the past 3.7 billion years organisms have adapted to their environment, with evolution solving complex chemical problems: fish can for example swim in polar oceans because they have antifreeze proteins in their blood. "I thought there might have been more", she said.

The academy said that half of the roughly $1.01-million USA prize would be awarded to Arnold and that the other half would be shared by her fellow laureates, Dr. Smith and Dr.

Arnold is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry is shared by three people including Mizzou's own Dr. George P. Smith.

He said he has "no idea" what he'll do with the prize money.

In a conversation in her office one day, I said that I wanted to do work on protein evolution.

The peace prize victor will be announced on Friday, followed by economics on Monday.

"This year's prize is harnessing the power of evolution". This year's Nobel laureates have taken the next step.