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Professor Bertozzi is the second Solvay Prize winner to become a Nobel Prize Laureate

Solvay is celebrating the news that Professor Carolyn Bertozzi has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, two years after she won the Solvay Prize for her invention of bioorthogonal chemical reactions that can be performed in living cells and organisms.

Professor Bertozzi won the Nobel Prize together with Professors Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.

Her scientific breakthrough is the invention of bioorthogonal chemical reactions that can be used to label specific molecules in cells for imaging, for drug target identification and the creation of next-generation biotherapeutics – ultimately helping to diagnose and treat diseases. As the Nobel Prize press release put it “Carolyn Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new level”. 

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“We are thrilled that Carolyn has won the Nobel Prize,” said Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. “It was an honor in 2020 to award her with the Solvay Prize for her groundbreaking advancements in chemistry, which have potentially life-saving applications in therapeutics. She is an incredible role model for young scientists everywhere, especially young women scientists.”

Professor Bertozzi was the first woman to win the Solvay Prize and the second Solvay Prize winner to go on to win the Nobel Prize. In 2016, Solvay Prize winner Professor Ben Feringa was awarded the Nobel Prize for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

Carolyn Bertozzi talking at Solvay Prize ceremony 2020

About the Science for the Future Solvay Prize

Created in 2013, the Solvay Prize perpetuates Ernest Solvay’s lifelong support of and passion for scientific research. The award recognizes major scientific discoveries with the potential to shape tomorrow’s chemistry and help human progress. It highlights the essential role of science and chemistry in helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Every two years, the most promising project is awarded a €300,000 prize.