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Press Statement 17-006

Statement on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017

NSF-funded researcher among laureates who developed 'cool' microscope

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson


October 4, 2017

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The Nobel Assembly has awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Joachim Frank of Columbia University and Richard Henderson of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, United Kingdom "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution." The National Science Foundation (NSF) supported Frank through several awards over the course of three decades. NSF also provided funding for U.S. research collaborations with Dubochet.

NSF Director France Córdova issued the following statement on the Nobel announcement:

Cryo-electron microscopy fundamentally changed biology and biochemistry, allowing scientists to create 3-D reconstructions of the biomolecular processes that support life. The technology delivers an unprecedented look at life at the atomic scale, providing us with accurate models of everything from viruses to antibodies. Joachim Frank demonstrated that potential to NSF in 1984, when the agency helped him acquire a high-resolution electron microscope for 3-D reconstruction, and then continued to support his development of new applications for the technology over the following decades. Biochemistry owes Frank and this year's other two Chemistry laureates, Richard Henderson and Jacques Dubochet, a debt of thanks for this important visualization tool.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, email: rmargett@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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