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Kurt Wthrich of The Scripps Research Institute wins 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

La Jolla, CA, October 9, 2002--Kurt Wthrich, Ph.D., who is Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Visiting Professor of Structural Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and a member of TSRI's Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology; and Professor of Biophysics at Eidgenssische Technische Hochschule Zrich (ETHZ), Switzerland, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry today for applying the technique of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to solving the structures of biological macromolecules.

Biological macromolecules--the DNA, proteins, sugars, and lipids of life--make up all the important structures of the cell, but they are much too small to study under a microscope. Determining the structure of these macromolecules through NMR was pioneered by Wthrich and allows scientists to "see" what they look like, to study and probe their structures, and to design drugs that inhibit them. Most recently, NMR structures have been critical in the design of drugs to treat, for instance, cancer and HIV.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Wthrich has received this recognition," says TSRI President Richard Lerner, M.D. "He is in the forefront of his field and he continues to push the boundaries of structural biology in new and important ways."

Awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics, and peace, the prize recognizes individuals who, as stipulated in Alfred Nobel's will, "have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." Each prize carries a cash award of roughly one million dollars. Last year, K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D., W.M. Keck Professor of Chemistry at TSRI and member of TSRI's Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of catalytic asymmetric synthesis.

"Two Nobel Prizes in two years is a remarkable endorsement of what TSRI is about--attracting the very best scientific minds and providing them the resources and
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Contact: Keith McKeown
kmckeown@scripps.edu
858-784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
9-Oct-2002


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