Nov 25, 2021

Following in Marie Curie’s footsteps: 4 EU-funded Nobel Laureates whose analysis modified our lives

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The 25th anniversary of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is the perfect occasion to delve deeper into some of the groundbreaking discoveries of four MSCA-backed Nobel Prize winners, and to look at how their research, alongside Marie Curie’s, has changed our world for the better.In 1996, inspired by the scientific legacy of Marie Curie, the…

The twenty fifth anniversary of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is the right event to delve deeper into a few of the groundbreaking discoveries of 4 MSCA-backed Nobel Prize winners, and to take a look at how their analysis, alongside Marie Curie’s, has modified our world for the higher.In 1996, impressed by the scientific legacy of Marie Curie, the European Fee rebranded all its analysis mobility programmes underneath one umbrella scheme — the Marie Curie Actions. In 2014, the programme was renamed the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions to focus on Marie’s Polish heritage and spotlight the range of European science. The MSCA funding programmes present doctoral training and postdoctoral coaching to a variety of researchers.Because the programme was launched, the MSCA have supported over 145,000 researchers of 160 nationalities, hosted in over 100 international locations. Following within the footsteps of Marie Curie herself, 12 of those researchers are actually Nobel Prize Laureates. She stays the one feminine double Nobel Laureate on the earth.To mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the MSCA, we rejoice some latest MSCA-backed Nobel Prize winners and their life-changing analysis.1. Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 — constructing molecules and simplifying pharmaceutical productionThis 12 months’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin Record and David MacMillan. They developed an ingenious software for constructing molecules: uneven organocatalysis. The researchers, who’re supervising the MSCA initiatives SusCat and PhotoChemBio respectively, have designed easy, low-cost and environmentally pleasant catalysts that can be utilized to drive an enormous number of chemical reactions. The idea is so simple as it’s good.Based on a 2015 estimate, catalysis contributes to 35% of the world’s GDP. Organocatalysis has had a major influence on pharmaceutical analysis, which regularly requires uneven catalysis. This method is already broadly used to supply healing medicine corresponding to oseltamivir, an anti-viral drug used to deal with respiratory infections, and paroxetine, which treats despair and anxiousness. Dr Record and Dr MacMillan’s discovery implies that the manufacturing processes for these medicine have been drastically simplified, with few substances misplaced or wasted throughout the sequence reactions. Oseltamivir, for instance, now solely takes 5 steps to supply, whereas it beforehand took 12.2. Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 — rewriting the code of lifeCRISPR. 📸 Natali Mis, Getty ImagesThe former coordinator of the MSCA challenge ENLIGHT-TEN ITN, Emmanuelle Charpentier, collectively together with her colleague Jennifer Doudna, developed the strategy of gene enhancing generally known as CRISPR/Cas9. Described as ‘a software for rewriting the code of life’, these ‘genetic scissors’ allow scientists to chop any DNA molecule at a predetermined website and insert one other piece of DNA into the break. They’ll subsequently change the DNA of animals, crops and microorganisms with excessive precision. Unsurprisingly, such a revolutionary software has given rise to an unimaginable spectrum of purposes.Using CRISPR in medical diagnostics might have an incredible influence by giving individuals higher entry to assessments that may detect critical ailments. CRISPR is already getting used to deal with sickle cell anaemia, a genetic dysfunction whose earlier remedy choices solely relieved signs.CRISPR can also be being utilized in bioenergy to exchange fossil fuels in addition to to supply lab-grown meat, thereby chopping methane emissions. By genetically engineering crops, CRISPR may also assist crops stand up to lengthy durations of drought attributable to rising temperatures worldwide.3. Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 — capturing life in atomic element and accelerating the event of vaccinesIn 2017, Richard Henderson, former coordinator of the MSCA challenge Membrane Proteases, obtained together with Jacques Dubochet and Joachim Frank the Nobel Prize in Chemistry ‘for growing cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) for the high-resolution construction dedication of biomolecules in answer’. In easy phrases, Henderson and his colleagues developed a know-how that ‘captures life in atomic element’. The researcher explains that ‘similar to we are able to take {a photograph} of people utilizing gentle, cryo-EM can take {a photograph} of molecules utilizing electrons’.Scientists not too long ago used this software to map the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus utilizing some 3,000 pictures. Ten years in the past, this course of would have taken weeks and even months, however now it may be achieved in underneath 24 hours. Mapping the virus and subsequently understanding its construction, accelerated the event of vaccines world wide, serving to save tens of millions of lives throughout the pandemic.Reflecting on his work, Henderson acknowledged that ‘a whole lot of the work within the lab is fundamental biology that develops utterly unknown concepts that give revolutionary enhancements in well being and wealth’.

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