2018 Nobel Prize Winners and Reflections from AJE

The 2018 Nobel Prize winners have been announced! Learn more about the science behind the Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prizes that were awarded.

For more than 100 years, Nobel prizes have been awarded to recognize the outstanding work of individuals across the globe. This year was no different, as those who were chosen to receive an award have made significant impacts in the world. At AJE, we would like to congratulate the 2018 recipients of the Nobel prizes!

Additionally, a few members from our team have shared reflections below about the 2018 Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prizes.

2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics recognized two key advances in laser physics that have enabled interdisciplinary experimental advances. Arthur Ashkin’s work on optical tweezers provided a means to use light to manipulate and isolate tiny objects, allowing targeted work with atoms, nanoparticles and bacteria and enabling corresponding small-scale studies on isolated samples. Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland’s work with chirped pulse amplification provided a way to construct laser pulses that deliver higher peak power than the amplifier producing them can sustain by stretching the pulse to lower the peak power, amplifying it, and then undoing the stretch. This technique enables experiments that use substantially higher peak power than was possible previously, as well as miniaturization of equipment.”

– Dan Brosnan, MS in Physics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, AJE Operations Director


2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their work on harnessing the power of protein evolution. Their discoveries have already led to the development of a drug for treating Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and various forms of arthritis and promise to continue to enable new developments in the chemical, biotechnological and pharmaceutical fields. Frances H. Arnold at the California Institute of Technology received half of the award for her work on directed evolution. A frequently used technique in modern labs, directed evolution enables the production of protein variants with improved properties and with therapeutic applications. These variants can subsequently be used in the production of biofuels and in the development of new chemical reactions. George P. Smith at the University of Missouri Columbia and Sir Gregory P. Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK split the other half of the award for their work on phage display. In addition to its role in the discovery of the drug adalimumab and its potential to continue to assist in the development of new therapeutics, phage display provides a new means of studying protein binding, folding and stability.”

– Anthony DiLauro, PhD in Chemistry, Penn State, AJE Academic Editor


2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

“The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine recognized two parallel discoveries in immunology, both relating to the use of the immune system for treating cancer. Activation of the immune system is tightly regulated in order to fight infection without destroying the body’s healthy cells. James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo each discovered a way to alter this process in order to use the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Allison and Honjo, using two different T cell proteins, each of which normally acts as a brake on T cell activity, used antibody treatment to block the activity of those proteins. This effectively activated the T cells and enabled them to attack cancer cells. This approach to treatment, now known as checkpoint therapy, substantially changed researchers’ overall approach to cancer management and has shown promising results for treating multiple types of cancer.”

– Naomi Twery, PhD in Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, AJE Research Communication Partner

Congratulations again to all of the 2018 Nobel Prize winners!

The Nobel Prize is a registered trademark of The Nobel Foundation.

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