2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The 2022 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to scientists Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless for their development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. These techniques have been used in a number of sectors, including delivering treatments that can kill cancer cells without perturbing healthy cells as well as sustainably and quickly producing large amounts of polymers to build materials. One-click chemistry-based drug is currently undergoing phase 2 clinical trials. Bertozzi is a scientific adviser of the company developing the drug. Click chemistry, as the name suggests, is a way of building molecules like snapping Lego blocks together. It takes two molecules to click, so researchers refer to each one as click partners. K. Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal independently discovered that azide, a high-energy molecule with three nitrogens bonded together, and alkyne, a relatively inert and naturally rare molecule with two carbons triple-bonded together, are great click partners in the presence of a copper catalyst. They found that the copper catalyst can bring the two pieces together in an optimal arrangement that snaps them together. Prior to this technique, researchers did not have a way to quickly and precisely make new molecules under accessible conditions, like using water as a solvent at room temperature.