2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

After the Nobel Prize for Physics included the first female laureate for 55 years, we waited in anticipation for the chemistry results this morning.

Donna Strickland, from Canada, is the third female winner of the physics award, along with Marie Curie, who won in 1903, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was awarded the prize in 1963. Dr Strickland shares this year’s prize with Arthur Ashkin, from the US, and Gerard Mourou, from France. The physics prize recognises their discoveries in the field of laser physics.

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine went to two scientists who discovered how to fight cancer using the body’s immune system: James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo. Their work has led to treatments for advanced, deadly skin cancer.

Chemistry Prize

The chemistry result was announced at 10.45am this morning and we watched live as Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter were awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded one half to Frances H. Arnold, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA and Sir Gregory P. Winter, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”.

Sir Gregory P. Winter

Sir Gregory Winter hails from Leicester and has used phage display to produce new pharmaceuticals. Today phage display has produced antibodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer. Sir Gregory is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge on 2 October 2012. In 2000, he founded Domantis, pioneering the use of domain antibodies, which use only the active portion of a full-sized antibody. Domantis was acquired by GSK in 2006 for £230 million. He subsequently founded Bicycle Therapeutics as a start-up company which is developing very small protein mimics based on a covalently bonded hydrophobic core.

Find out more about Sir Gregory Winter here:


Prof Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:

“Thanks to Greg Winter’s pioneering research into monoclonal antibodies at the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, people who have breast cancer, arthritis, asthma and leukemia the world over are already benefiting from new drugs, with many more in development. UK companies developing antibody technologies based on Greg’s work have also been a start-up success story, with these drugs being worth billions globally. I am delighted that his great achievement has been recognised with the Nobel. It is a richly deserved honour for him, the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, which has produced so many Nobel Prize winners, and British science.”

Nobel Prize Art

On top of the impressive achievements of these incredible chemists, we were also charmed by the marvellous illustrations of the winners, created by Swedish artist Niklas Elmehed. Find out more about him via his Facebook page:


This year’s remaining Nobel Prize timetable:

Friday 5 October, 11:00 a.m. – The Nobel Peace Prize.

Monday 8 October, 11:45 a.m. at the earliest – The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

The Swedish Academy have postponed the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature and intend to decide on and announce the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 in parallel with the naming of the 2019 laureate.

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Always a great day for science, for STEM and of course for the winners!

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