Francis in Fireflies: The 2022 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Medicine

I have participated in the episode «Bioorthogonal chemistry, click chemistry and the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry 2022. Francisco Villatoro. UMA”, November 29, 2022 [iVoox]from the radio program Luciérnagas, @Luciernagas_20, presented by Dante Cáceres. As in recent years, he collaborated by talking about the Nobel Prizes in Science, in this case those in Chemistry and a little about Physiology or Medicine. I remind you that this science dissemination podcast is broadcast every Tuesday at 10:40 p.m. (Madrid time) on the Radio Santa María de Toledo channel, of the Diocesan Radio and Television. The broadcast is repeated on Wednesdays at 03:00 and Sundays at 24:00.

The brilliant K. Barry Sharpless (81), from Stanford Univ. (USA), wins his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the conception of so-called one-click chemistry (he already won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001 for his work on the catalysis of oxidation reactions that produce chiral molecules). He is accompanied by the other father of one-click chemistry, Morten Meldal (68 years old), from the Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), and the great Carolyn R. Bertozzi (55 years old), for bioorthogonal chemistry. Sharpless, just before receiving the first Nobel from him, coined the term click chemistry, as a way of synthesizing new chemical compounds as simply as clicking two Lego pieces together. The paradigmatic reaction of click chemistry was the copper-catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition (CuAAC) of Meldal. But the one who took chemistry in one click to the beyond, biochemistry, was Bertozzi with her bioorthogonal chemistry; These reactions do not alter cell chemistry, which they use to track metabolism in living organisms, and thanks to this, a multitude of anti-cancer drugs have been designed, some of which are already being tested in clinical trials. More information in “Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022: Meldal and Sharpless for chemistry in a click, and Bertozzi for bioorthogonal chemistry”, LCMF, 05 Oct 2022.

The Swedish Svante Pääbo (67 years old), from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany), has been awarded for his discoveries on extinct hominin genomes and for his contributions to the evolutionary tree of humans. The father of paleogenomics has allowed us to know that we all have Neanderthal genes in our genome, between 1% and 3% depending on our origin; these genes are not a simple curiosity, but rather determine certain physical traits and susceptibility to certain diseases. And we know this thanks to the complete sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, something that seemed impossible until the Pääbo team achieved it; he had already sequenced the Neanderthal mitochondrial genome, but there are no traces of that genome in the mitochondria of modern humans. He later managed to discover a new species of hominin in Siberia, the Denisovan, using only paleogenomics. More information in “Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022: Svante Pääbo for paleogenomics and the Neanderthal genome”, LCMF, 03 Oct 2022.

Go download the episode.

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