A Swedish researcher at the Francis Crick Institute has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on how the cell repairs its DNA.
Paul L. Modrich, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, North Carolina, was recognised for showing how cells correct errors that occur when DNA is replicated during cell division, and Aziz Sancar, a Turkish-born biochemist at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is honoured for mapping the mechanism cells use to repair ultraviolet damage to DNA.
“Their systematic work has made a decisive contribution to the understanding of how the living cell functions, as well as providing knowledge about the molecular causes of several hereditary diseases and about mechanisms behind both cancer development and ageing,” said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which named the Nobel laureates this morning.
Professor Lindahl, emeritus director of Cancer Research UK’s Clare Hall Laboratories in Hertfordshire (he closed his lab in 2009), shares SKr 8 million (about £633,000) with his fellow Nobel recipients.
Professor Lindahl, a Royal Society fellow, was congratulated by the organisation’s vice-president Sir Martyn Poliakoff.
“Understanding the ways in which DNA repairs itself is fundamental to our understanding of inherited genetic disorders and of diseases like cancer,” said Sir Martyn.
“The important work that Royal Society fellow Tomas Lindahl has done has helped us gain greater insight into these essential processes.”