Scientists awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for biomolecular imaging

Journalists reading up on their chemistry ahead of the announcement

In this case, the winners are Jacques Dubochet from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Joachim Frank from Columbia University in NY, and Richard Henderson from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, for "developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution".

Richard Henderson, Joachim Frank and Jacques Dubochet helped to develop cryo-electron microscopy.

According to The Guardian, Dubochet, Frank and Henderson will receive equal shares of the 9 million Swedish kronor (£825,000) prize, which was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Wednesday.

In the Zika virus, for example, scientists identified unique parts of the pathogen's structure using cryo-electron microscopy, identifying a potential target for a vaccine.

Richard Henderson (UK) have all won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The three's work has also led to an improvement in the electron microscope's resolution.

The work essentially deals with capturing extremely high-resolution images of a biomolecules. Between 1975 and 1986, Frank developed a new method to process electron microscopes' images into a more sharp, 3D structure.

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It was then in the 90s that Richard Henderson was able to take that a step further and create a 3D image of a protein at an atomic resolution.

Previously, electron microscopy imaging was only suitable for studying dead matter, because the electron beam destroys any biological material it is applied to.

Dubochet earned a doctoral degree in 1973 at the University of Geneva and University of Basel and became an honorary professor of biophysics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. "The practical use is huge", he says. Nine out of nine Nobel Prizes in 2017 have been won by male scientists.

Scientists who produced molecular machines have been awarded the Nobel Prizes for Chemistry/ These machines are molecules with controllable motions and the scientists who outlined the ways to fix a damaged DNA, directing to enhanced cancer treatments. Together these discoveries have made today's cryo-electron microscopy possible.

The prizes are named after Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, and have been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace, in accordance with his will.

Just a few years ago, electron microscope images of proteins resembled blobs.

John Hardy, neuroscience professor at University College London, said Dubochet, Frank and Henderson's technique has transformed the field of structural biology.

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