Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize For Developing New Way To Image Biomolecules In High Resolution

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Martin Hogbom/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Martin Hogbom/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Scientists Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, Joachim Frank of Columbia University, and Richard Henderson of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work developing a new way to image biomolecules in extremely high resolution.

“This method has moved biochemistry into a new era,” the prize committee said, which is enables the viewing of viruses such as Zika clearer than ever before.

Cryo-electron microscopy gives scientists the ability to freeze biomolecules mid-movement and “visualize processes they have never previously seen,” states the committee.

Ultimately, the technique will help scientists and researchers better understand how biomolecules act and interact with each other, so that developing drugs to treat certain viruses becomes a less daunting process.

The three scientists individually have been made a number of discoveries dating back to the 70’s which have all been combined to create what is today’s cryo-electron microscopy.

The technique’s incremental improvement over the past 4 years have led to researchers now being able to regularly snap 3D images of biomolecules.

“We are facing a revolution in biochemistry,” said Nobel Committee Chairman Sara Snogerup Linse during the announcement, according to CNN. “Now we can see the intricate details of the biomolecules in every corner of our cells, in every drop of our body fluids. We can understand how they are built and how they act and how they work together in large communities.”

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