Aziz Sancar wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry
The 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded for work on mapping how cells repair damaged DNA to US-Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar, American Paul Modric and Sweden's Tomas Lindahl. Their discovery is essential in studying DNA function, in prevention and therapy of cancer.
The scientist said that he was sleeping when the Nobel committee called, so the news caught him by surprise, because he had not expected such a success.
Now Sancar plans to celebrate among friends, saying that he is happy for his homeland.
Aziz Sancar was born in 1946 in the province of Mardin in southeastern Turkey. After graduating he spent several years as a rural doctor, but in 1973 he became interested in biochemistry. He was struck by the fact that a bacteria, receiving a deadly dose of ultraviolet light, quickly recreates after irradiation with blue light in the visible range. In the US, Sancar succeeded in cloning the gene for the enzyme that repairs UV-damaged cells (photolyase). In the 1970s the discovery did not cause interest in US universities, and Aziz Sancar took up a position as a laboratory technician at the Yale University School of Medicine.
There the scientist described the second system of bacteria for repairing UV damage. Unlike photolyase, it operates under conditions of darkness. In the late 1980s Sancar took up a faculty position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and studied mechanisms for UV damage repair in humans and bacteria.
Aziz Sanjar is confident that his research will help in the fight against cancer.
Currently he and his wife Gwen Sancar are working at the University of North Carolina, where they jointly opened a 'Turkish House', which promotes Turkish culture. Aziz Sancar has published 33 books and a large number of research articles.
The Turkish media reports that in his youth he was also fond of football and was even invited to the position of goalkeeper in the Turkish national team when he was 18 years old, but he wasn't tall enough, so the scientist chose science.