Carolyn Bertozzi wins Lemelson-MIT prize

June 2, 2010 at 10:10 AM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 2 (UPI) -- Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, a chemical biologist, was named the winner Wednesday of the 2010, $500,000 Lemelson-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Prize.

Bertozzi, who conducts research at both the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California-Berkeley, was honored for achieving extraordinary success with her pioneering inventions in the field of biotechnology.

"Bertozzi's ability to identify unmet needs and craft innovative solutions has led to scientific advances with a broad range of applications," program officials said. "Chemical insights gleaned by Bertozzi have progressed efforts to diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer, inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, and infectious diseases like tuberculosis. Her multi-disciplinary approach has led to significant developments in the ability to engineer living cells and the proteins they produce with defined chemical properties."

Among her accomplishments, Bertozzi invented the world's first bioorthogonal chemical reaction, a technology for labeling biomolecules in living cells or animals. She also invented the genetically encoded aldehyde tag technology, giving scientists a simple method for precision protein engineering,

"(She) transformed the field of chemical biology, creating new industries along the way, and bringing new innovations to fields as disparate as nanoscience, tuberculosis therapy and bone tissue engineering," said Professor Miguel Salmeron, director of the materials science division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Bertozzi will accept the prize during the Lemelson-MIT Program's fourth-annual EurekaFest June 16-19 at MIT.

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