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Winners of 2015 Nobel Prize Include Members of AAAS Community

AAAS has three new Nobel laureates among its members and Fellows, following this week's announcements of the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine. The archives of Science also include key articles by all three scientists receiving the chemistry prize, which the journal has made free with no registration required until 22 October.


Tomas Lindahl (above) and Paul Modrich. Satoshi Ōmura of Kitasato University in Tokyo, one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, is also a AAAS member. | Photos courtesy of the Crick Institute and Duke University

Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in Hertfordshire, U.K. and Paul Modrich of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina are AAAS members, and Modrich became a AAAS Fellow in 1998. Jointly with Aziz Sancar of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Lindahl and Modrich are receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for mapping out the molecular systems by which cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard their genetic information. The work, which has contributed to the development of new cancer treatments, has shed light on how cells respond to ongoing DNA destruction caused by UV radiation, free radicals, and other carcinogenic substances.

"This is perfect. DNA repair is a hugely important topic and these three were the first to describe the repair mechanisms," Thomas Carell, who studies nucleic acid chemistry at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, told Science. Further coverage of the Nobel announcements is available at Science Insider.

One of key articles about this research, which was cited by the Nobel Prize announcement and co-authored by Modrich, appeared in the 14 July 1989 issue of ScienceLindahl and Sancar also published multiple articles in the journal.

On Monday, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to William Campbell of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and AAAS member Satoshi Ōmura of Kitasato University in Tokyo, who will share half the prize for discovering the drug avermectin, which has been used to treat river blindness and lymphatic filariasis as well as other parasitic diseases. The prize also recognized Youyou Tu of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing for her discovery of the anti-malaria drug artemisinin.

Tuesday's Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo in Kashiwa, Japan, who led researchers working with the Super-Kamiokande detector, and Arthur B. McDonald of Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, who led the team working with the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. They were recognized for discovering that particles called neutrinos — predicted to be massless according to the Standard Model of particle physics — change identities as they travel toward Earth and therefore must have some mass.