The Nobel Prize in chemistry 2022 has gone to three scientists for their work on “ Click Chemistry,” the work that allows molecules to link together, like Lego pieces

This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry is about making complicated chemical processes easier. Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal have laid the groundwork for click chemistry, a functional form of chemistry in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Carolyn Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new level by incorporating it into living organisms.

Their work is applicable in medical science, especially in developing cancer treatments and directly targeting tumor cells. 

“This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route,” says Johan Åqvist, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

The winners share prize money of 10 million Swedish krona (£800,000).

What the Scientists worked on

According to the Nobel prize website, Barry Sharpless, who is now received his second Nobel Prize, coined the term “click chemistry” around the year 2000, which is a type of simple and reliable chemistry in which reactions occur quickly and unwanted by-products are avoided. Soon after, Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless, working independently, presented what is now considered the crown jewel of click chemistry: the copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition. And they share the award with Carolyn Bertozzi, who elevated click chemistry to new heights. She developed click reactions that work inside living organisms to map important but elusive biomolecules on the surface of cells called glycans. Her bioorthogonal reactions occur without interfering with the cell’s normal chemistry.”

It further said, “These reactions are now used globally to explore cells and track biological processes. Using bioorthogonal reactions, researchers have improved the targeting of cancer pharmaceuticals, which are now being tested in clinical trials.

Click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions have taken chemistry into the era of functionalism. This is bringing the greatest benefit to humankind”.