Score one for the crystal-ball gazers at Thomson Reuters Scientific! As I blogged last week, every year the editors and researchers there forecast the Nobel Prize winners, and although they struck out on physics and medicine they nailed chemistry: Roger Tsien of UC San Diego shares this year’s chem Nobel with Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Lab and Martin Chalfie of Columbia University for discovering and developing green fluorescent protein.
As Tsien and two co-authors of a key paper explained last year, with the technique for tagging cellular proteins in living things “the possibilities are endless. The probes can be used to study proteins on many levels: in live or fixed specimens; in vitro or in vivo; to study localization, activity, or modify function; and to be seen by light and electron microcopy.”
Bruce E. Bursten, president of the American Chemical Society, called the selection of the the three “a wonderful choice! This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry showcases chemistry’s critical but often-invisible role in fostering advances in biology and medicine. Green fluorescent proteins allow scientists quite literally to see the growth of cancer and study Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that affect millions of people. This is chemistry at its very best, improving people’s lives.”