NewsAlert:US, British researchers win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

NewsAlert:US, British researchers win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Frances Arnold of the California Institute of Technology will receive half of the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize, while Smith will share the other half with Gregory Winter of the MRC molecular biology lab in Cambridge, England.

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.

Frances Arnold, who won half the Nobel in chemistry this year, is known for her work on directed evolution of enzymes.

"Our laureates this year have been able to direct evolution, to steer it, which has led to new chemicals that can be used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents to the creation of new biofuels and pharmaceuticals", said Gustafsson.

At a time when gender bias in the sciences is under scrutiny as never before Arnold's win makes her the first woman to take the chemistry prize since Ada Yonath in 2009 for her work on the ribosome's inner workings.

Smith won for a technique called "phage display" which uses a genetically engineered virus that infects bacteria in order to evolve new proteins.

This method has been used to create antibodies that can neutralize toxins such as that which causes anthrax and slows down an autoimmune disease called lupis, and even cure metastatic cancer.

Winter adapted the approach to create useful antibodies, proteins that target and grab onto disease-related targets.

"She is a terrific person, obviously", said Earl Dowell, who was one of Arnold's advisers at Princeton and is now the William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University. The academy plans to announce both the 2018 and the 2019 victor next year - although the head of the Nobel Foundation has said the body must fix its tarnished reputation first. Smith is a professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Missouri.

Smith, reached at his home in Columbia, Missouri, was quick to credit the work of others for his prize.

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Winter was one of the first to produce functional mammalian antibodies or part of them in bacteria.

Hartings said her recent development of an enzyme that can promote chemical reactions involving silicon was a startling accomplishment, "completely bonkers".

"Very few research breakthroughs are novel".

He built up a collection of phages, with billions of antibody varieties on their surface, and engineered them make them more effective.

On Monday, James Allison, who spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Research in La Jolla, won the Nobel in physiology or medicine for his work in fighting cancer.

Professor Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Sir Greg's work has been recognised with a Nobel Prize. Mine was an idea in a line of research that built very naturally on the lines of research that went before".

He said he got the phone call from Sweden early Wednesday morning.

This was the 110th Nobel Prize awarded for chemistry since 1901.

For the first time since 1949, the Swedish Academy has postponed the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize until next year, amid a #MeToo scandal and bitter internal dispute that has prevented it from functioning properly. Nor, in my experience, does a Nobel Prize go to two people you know, on a typical day.

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