Jason Chin, from the LMB’s Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry division, has been nominated for the European Inventor Award (EIA) – presented annually by the European Patent Office (EPO) to outstanding inventors for their contribution to technological, social and economic progress.
The winners of the 2012 EIA will be announced during an award ceremony in Copenhagen on 14 June. The winners, in each of five award categories, will be selected by a high profile, international jury comprising leading personalities from industry, science, politics and media.
Jason has been nominated in the ‘Research’ category along with Oliver Rackham from Australia for their ground-breaking achievements in the field of synthetic biology. The two other finalists in the same category are Dr Gilles Gosselin (France) and team, who developed a drug for the treatment of Hepatitis B; and Professor Mark van Loosdrecht, Dr Merle Krista de Kreuk and Dr Joseph Heijnen (The Netherlands) for the invention of an advanced biological wastewater treatment technology.
Jason and Oliver were shortlisted for their work in creating a way to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins – allowing molecular biologists to control and elucidate the functions of proteins in cells with unprecedented precision. Their achievement changed the universal belief that some components in a cell, such as the ribosome, are un-evolvable as they are essential for the cell to work.
Their invention has the potential to revolutionise the way patients are treated in protein-like therapeutics, such as insulin treatment, as well as to detect prostate, ovarian, and colon cancer. Ten drugs are already undergoing clinical trials targeting illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, obesity and heart failure, as well as various applications in oncology.
EPO President Benoît Battistelli said, “Jason Chin is an extraordinary scientist, who has revolutionized chemical biology research at a very young age. His invention has great potential for the development of new therapies. I am sure that he will continue his successful path of innovation.”
Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the EPO, in co-operation with the European Commission and the country holding the EU Council Presidency at the time of the award ceremony, which this year is Denmark.