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Chemistry Nobel Prize 2017 Winners for method to visualise biomolecules

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 to:

  1. Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. Joachim Frank, Columbia University, New York, USA
  3. Richard Henderson, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

Nobel Prize in Chemistry on 4th October 2017 is awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of cryo-electron microscopy, which both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules. This method has moved biochemistry into a new era.
Richard Henderson in 1990 was successful in using an electron microscope to generate a 3D image of a protein at atomic resolution. Joachim Frank made technology more widely applicable. Jacques Dubochet had helped with vitrification of water, which ensured that biological sample retained its natural shape even in vacuum and while frozen. Cryo-electron microscopy The Cryo-electron microscopy is specific type of electron microscopy based on principle of forming three-dimensional (3D) image by collecting and combining thousands of projections of biomolecules. Using it, researchers can now freeze mid-movement of biomolecules and can visualise processes they have never seen. It helps to make it possible to see biomolecules in 3D after rapidly freezing them at -150°C (i.e. at cryogenic temperature), preserving their natural shape. It can reveal the structure of the molecules of life in exquisite detail. It is decisive for both basic understanding of chemistry and for development of pharmaceuticals.


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