Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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Jeff Mugridge, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Research in the Mugridge lab takes an interdisciplinary approach to understand how the cell controls RNA function to regulate gene expression. We combine techniques from biochemistry, structural biology, biophysics, and chemistry to answer challenging mechanistic questions about macromolecular RNA-protein complexes and their links to human disease. In particular, we are working to answer questions that include: (1) How does the cell read, write, and erase diverse chemical modifications on mRNA and tRNA to impact RNA structure, translation, and stability? (2) How are defects in RNA modification pathways and RNA-modifying enzymes linked to human diseases and how can we use mechanistic, atomic-level insights to help treat those diseases? And (3) how can we develop new chemical and biochemical tools to selectively and quantitatively monitor dynamic changes to RNA in the cell?

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Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna

​The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna "for the development of a method for genome editing." It is the first time to two women. The two researchers invented a method — CRISPR-Cas9 — that allows researchers to more easily change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms. The research by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna was published in 2012, making it more recent compared with some Nobel-winning research, which is often honored only after decades have passed.

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