For many years, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Science is very rare. Most of them are shared by two to three people, in almost all cases, they are men, and occasionally there are two men and one woman. Therefore, the photos of the most important science awards in the world are: two or three men, or occasionally two men and one woman.
Photography is a fact shared by several people, reflecting the way science is developing today: collaboration. However, those photos published year after year do not reflect the reality of 2020 that we can see in the Chemistry Prize: a large number of scientific research groups are integrated and led by female scientists.
Thousands of researchers from all countries of the world cooperate with each other to improve knowledge. However, it was not until 2020 that Charpentier and Doudna faced reality, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was slow to react to this, but only now have we seen this in the Nobel Prize photos.
car is a dangerous and revolutionary microbiologist
Emmanuelle Charpentier (Yuves-sur-Orvis, France, 1968) is a trained microbiologist who is engaged in this work, and this work earned them the Nobel Prize. She is a precarious researcher, it took many years to have her own laboratory, but she did not give up. After receiving two postdoctoral fellowships in New York, both under the guidance of two researchers, she returned to Europe and landed in Vienna in the early 2000s, where she became interested in CRISPR.
He has a revolutionary, almost heretical idea of mainstream science about how this system works. To prove this, she needs a PhD student to perform certain experiments because she does not have a laboratory assistant. But his PhD students refused to accept the path Charpentier showed them, and this only managed to get one of his master students to implement it.
Soon after leaving Vienna, he moved to Umeå (Sweden), and in 2011 Published in famous magazines natural A revolutionary article showing how two RNA molecules interact to make the antiviral system of bacteria work. The first signer was a humble master student.
Puerto Rico united them
In the same year, he met in Puerto Rico’s Congress Jennifer Doudna (Washington, D.C., USA, 1964), a well-known structural biologist, specializing in RNA.From there began to cooperate, only a year later Published together on science A work that goes beyond basic science, this is the beginning of his entry into the Nobel Prize: an endonuclease that can be programmed by RNA in bacterial immunity.
In all this work, the keywords are “programmable” because they indicate that the system can be used to introduce very specific changes at any point in the genome with elegant simplicity. Charpentier and Doudna agreed to sign paper Are equally relevant. They can easily reach consensus. Less than a year later, hundreds of laboratories have adopted his method.
Since then, they have won awards (in Spain, the Princess of Asturias and the Fronteras of the BBVA Foundation, provided us with refreshing photos, which never appeared in the jacket and tie. Above), they continue to research and discover new things.His work illustrates well Scientific curiosityWithout any application intent, you may end up discovering very important utilities. In this curiosity, there are crazy ideas, but there are still many crazy ideas, and in other cases (such as the idea of Charpentier in this example), they help to discover what is really happening, And opened up unexpected roads for science and its applications.
In fact, the whole story can be traced back to the Spaniards Francisco Mojica, Is a microbiologist at the University of Alicante. He published his discovery of CRISPR sequences in bacteria on the Santa Pola salt flats in 1993 (yes, it was Francis Mojica). name). It is also the first hint in a 2005 publication that it is a bacterial immune system. Although these two works are the basis of everything, publishing them took him a lot of time. No one believes it, just like Charpentier and his PhD students.
This is also an example of how fruitful cooperation between people with different scientific interests or specialties can be carried out. Two researchers met at a conference, they talked, got to know each other, they worked together… they changed the world. Congratulations, Charpentier and Doudna.
Carmen Fenoll is here Professor of Plant Physiology at the University of Castilla La Mancha, Chairman of the Spanish Society of Plant Physiology, Amit.