Vallee Awardee named 2015 Nobel Laureate

Aziz Sancar, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, and 2016 ASBMB recipient of the Bert & Natalie Vallee Award in Biochemistry, has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick and Clare Hall Laboratory, UK, and Paul Modrich, HHMI and Duke University School of Medicine.  The Nobel Prize has been awarded to them for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. The Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 2015 have provided fundamental insights into how cells function, knowledge that can be used, for instance, in the development of new cancer treatments.  Aziz Sancar has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things.