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Pitt announces the 2022 Dickson Prize in Medicine winner
Carolyn Bertozzi, who founded the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, a class of chemical reactions compatible with living systems, has been awarded the 2022 Dickson Prize in Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s highest honor.
The prize is given annually to an American biomedical researcher who has made significant, progressive contributions to medicine. The award consists of a specially commissioned medal, a $50,000 honorarium and an invitation to present a lecture at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I’m delighted that Dr. Bertozzi has been chosen to receive the School of Medicine’s most prestigious award,” said Anantha Shekhar, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine. “Her research at the intersection of chemistry and biology has created entirely new avenues of investigation that have led to promising new drug targets against cancer, infections and many other diseases.”
“I am deeply honored to join the list of Dickson Prize recipients, which is populated with scientists who have long inspired me,” Bertozzi said. “I am especially grateful for the many brilliant trainees and collaborators I have worked alongside over the course of my career, whose contributions made this possible. The fields of chemical biology and glycobiology have much to contribute to improving human health, and this prize reinforces that exciting prospect.”
Bertozzi is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Bertozzi’s research interests span the disciplines of chemistry and biology, with an emphasis on studies of how sugar molecules on cell surfaces are important contributors to conditions such as cancer, inflammation and bacterial infection. Her lab has identified ways to modify these sugar molecules through bioorthogonal chemistry — a method that employs chemical reactions that do not interfere with normal cellular processes. This approach has allowed her to develop new therapeutic avenues to treat many diseases, including most recently in the field of cancer immunotherapy.