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Who is Carolyn Bertozzi? 2022 Nobel Prize Winner In Chemistry

Carolyn Bertozzi
The 2022 Noble Prize announcements are currently underway for various categories. On Wednesday, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to American chemist and professor Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi and Chemists Morten P Meldel and K Barry Sharpless for their work towards the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year was in recognising the work done in making difficult processes easier.

Carolyn Bertozzi, who achieved greatness in the field of science from an early age, is also representative of the LGBTQ+ community and proudly calls herself a lesbian mom. In a press release, The Noble Prize committee noted Carolyn Bertozzi’s significant role in taking chemistry to a whole new level.


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Who is Carolyn Bertozzi?

55-year-old Carolyn R Bertozzi is an American Chemist and professor who lives in California. She has been significantly known for her wide range of work in both chemistry and biology. In the extension to the work done along with her fellow award recipients, Bertozzi went on to fetch click chemistry to another level. “To map important and elusive biomolecules on the surface of glycans cells, she developed click reactions which work inside the living organisms. Her bioorthogonal reactions have taken place without disrupting normal chemistry of the cells,” noted the press release.

“When the world is in trouble Chemistry comes to the rescue”

Sharpless and Melder laid the foundation for the functional form of chemistry which is called Click Chemistry, wherein molecular building blocks come together quickly and efficiently. Bertozzi merged the term ‘bioorthogonal chemistry’ to name chemical reactions that were compatible with living organisms. Their work was recognised after the reactions of their experiment started being used globally to track biological processes. Researchers, using these bioorthogonal reactions, have improved the target of cancer pharmaceuticals, something that is also being tested in clinical trials now.

The statement further read: “Click chemistry us the bringing the greatest benefit to humankind.”

“I have trolls just like any woman on social media does. But nothing compared to blatant homophobia by people in my college years. Surprisingly, though, being a woman was and still is worse than being a lesbian”

Carolyn Bertozzi’s journey from her college days to now working as a renowned chemist and professor hasn’t been easy. She has had to struggle to mark her identity not only as a woman chemist but also as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. An alumnus of the Harvard University ad University of California Berkley, Bertozzi is currently a professor and researcher at Stanford University. A PhD in Chemistry, Bertozzi has also done notable studies in the glycobiology of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, inflammatory disease, and tuberculosis among others. She also works with biotechnology startups apart from her work in academia. 

The American chemist has on several occasions voiced her opinion on gender inequality, stereotyping, and several other issues in society. Bertozzi, who shares three sons with her wife, believes it is her responsibility to be a role model as a lesbian scientist and that her recognition will help those who are still trying to make a mark in a world that is still not accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.