2015 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winners

Simone Brazzini, Cate Mason, Jacob Miller

Tomas Lindahl

Who is this guy?

Born 1938 in Stockholm, Sweden

Still alive

Received his PhD and MD from the Karolinska institute in Stockholm. He went to Princeton University and Rockefeller University to continue research.

He was working as director of Cancer research at Clare Hall Laboratory in the U.K.

Awarded the prize for Mechanistic studies of DNA repair.

Interesting fact: Looks like Bernie Sanders. His brother, nephew, and daughter all work in science too. When not working on science he is a wine connaisseur.

Paul Modrich

Who is this guy?

Born on June 13, 1946 in Raton, New Mexico

He is still alive

Received his B.S. from MIT and his PhD from Stanford

He was working at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and was studying DNA mismatch repair.

Fun Fact:

He is Croatian.

Aziz Sancar

Who is this guy?

Born on September 8th, 1946 in Savur, Turkey

Obviously still alive

Biochemist who works on DNA repair at the University of North Carolina

Go his Ph.D in 1977 at the University of Texas Dallas

What did they do?

  • Sancar
  1. used UV rays (found in sunlight) in the labs on DNA
  2. Figured out how all the systems in the DNA work together to repair itself
  • Modrich
  1. used other form of UV rays in the labs on DNA
  2. Figured out how they repair themselves when DNA copies itself, or when a baby is born
  • Lindahl
  1. used UV rays again in the labs on DNA
  2. Figured out the reactions inside DNA damages it greatly on a daily basis
  3. Also figured out why: nucleotide excision repair


Through this they are now able to develop medicine that conquers the part in the DNA that repairs itself.

Why they won?

Why did they win (importance):

Studied DNA repair

Opens the door to curing cancer and other diseases caused by DNA mutation

Problem Solver:

scientists further understand DNA repair and will be able to potentially cure cancer

Challenges previous knowledge:

In the 70's Lindahl discovered that DNA undergoes.

He then asked how life was possible if DNA is suppose to disintegrate.

Throughout the course of 30 years the scientist worked to figure it out and they did.

They discovered that the DNA repairs itself through the process of "nucleotide excision repair."

Currently being used:

It is now currently being used to develop cancer medication with the hopes of attacking the part in the cancer cells that repairs itself.

Future Importance:

prevent cancer

design drugs to cure cancer