Longtime MU Professor George Smith Wins 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Longtime MU Professor George Smith Wins 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Longtime MU Professor George Smith Wins 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

For the first time in the Nobel Prizes' 117-year history, an American woman on Wednesday was awarded the coveted prize for chemistry - an accolade that only four other women in the world have won.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Arnold had transformed science by using the principles of evolution - genetic change and selection - and to evolve new types of proteins very fast.

The methods developed by the laureates have been put to work to create new enzymes and antibodies used in promoting a greener chemicals industry, mitigating disease and saving lives.

Arnold is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

The first drug based on this work is used against rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, the academy said.

George Smith developed a method called phage display, where a bacteriophage - a virus that infects bacteria - can be used to evolve new proteins.

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Smith created a process that helped develop new drugs that are now being used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Other antibodies produced by this approach fight cancer, neutralize the anthrax toxin and slow down lupus, the Swedish academy said. Arnold devised methods for reshuffling the genes that make enzymes, and then seeing which new recipes produced promising effects.

"Support the professional development of young women, give them opportunities to talk and network, mentor them and nominate them for prizes, Nobel or otherwise". Fifteen graduate alumni have won Nobel Prizes, most recently Kip Thorne, who completed his Ph.D.in 1965 and won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

She's the fifth woman to receive the chemistry prize, and follows Ada E Yonath in 2009, according to The Guardian. "Rather than having to design a process to fit an existing enzyme's requirements, directed evolution makes it possible to fit the catalyst to the optimal manufacturing conditions".

He concludes, "Very few research breakthroughs are novel". These enzymes can be used in chemical processes that produce medicines. "First I was stunned, like somebody hit me over the head with something and then I started to wake up", she said.

"Frances's work has added entirely new dimensions to protein chemistry and biotechnology", said Douglas Clark, dean of the College of Chemistry at Berkeley and a friend of Arnold's. Virtually all of them build on what went on before.

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The medicine prize was awarded Monday to American and Japanese researchers.

"This year's prize is about harnessing the power of evolution", the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in announcing the winners.

George Smith from the University of Missouri is a staunch critic of Israel and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace, a left-wing activist organization that supports boycotting Israel.

"Chemistry is filled with brilliant women, so I think we'll see a steady stream of Nobel prizes awarded to women", says Arnold.

Meanwhile, scientists from the United States, Canada and France shared the physics prize on Tuesday.

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