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Two EMBO Members receive Nobel Prize in Chemistry



Heidelberg, 4 October 2017 - EMBO congratulates Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Richard Henderson, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, on receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017.


Dubochet and Henderson – together with Joachim Frank, Columbia University, New York, USA – received the prize for the development of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) as a technique to determine high-resolution structures of biological molecules in solution. The approach allows the visualization and study of complex biological machineries in atomic resolution.


In the 1980s, Jacques Dubochet devised a way to vitrify water through rapid cooling – an approach that made it possible to study biological samples under the electron micrograph. In 1990, Richard Henderson and his colleagues showed the potential of using cryo-EM for biological imaging when they generated a three-dimensional, atomic level image of bacteriorhodopsin.


Richard Henderson has been an EMBO Member since 1980. Jacques Dubochet was appointed EMBO Member in 2002. They join a list of 85 EMBO Members and Associate Members who have been awarded Nobel Prizes.


Visit the Nobel Prize announcement webpage.


A free collection of recent research published in EMBO Press journals by Joachim Frank and other scientists using cryo-EM to unravel the beauty of biomolecules is available on the EMBO Press website.