Jason Chin, joint Head of the LMB’s PNAC Division, has been awarded the 2019 Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in the Physical Sciences. Jason shares the Prize with Professor Christopher J. Chang from the University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Matthew D. Disney from The Scripps Research Institute, Florida.
The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in in the Physical Sciences aims to encourage dedication to science, originality and excellence by rewarding outstanding young scientists. The prize is awarded, in alternate years, in the fields of Chemistry and Physics. This year’s prize was in Chemistry, specifically in the area of chemical biology.
The Sackler committee commended Jason for his work in “markedly advancing non-natural amino acid technology and demonstrating its power for biological discovery”. Jason’s research focuses on developing strategies to expand the genetic code of living organisms to increase and diversify the chemical building blocks that cells use to make proteins. This technology can be used to label proteins, add post-translational modifications and control enzymatic activity or protein transport within living cells, which in turn is providing new insights into many cellular processes. A goal of Jason’s current research is to build on the technologies that his lab has pioneered to enable cells to be used as factories for the synthesis of new polymers.
Upon winning the award, Jason said: “I’m exceptionally grateful to the talented and dedicated people from around the world that I have had the privilege to work with at the LMB. Their drive to redefine what is possible provides an endless source of inspiration to me; this award is a testament to their remarkable achievements.”
Jason was an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, received his PhD, as a Fulbright Awardee, at Yale University and was a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his work including the Francis Crick Prize of the Royal Society, the Corday Morgan Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Louis-Jeantet YICA and the EMBO gold medal. He has been inducted into the European Inventors Hall of Fame by the European Patent Office and is a member of EMBO and the Academy of Medical Sciences.
The Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prizes were established in 2000 and are administered by Tel Aviv University. Previous winners include Harvey McMahon from the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, who received a share of the 2006 Sackler Prize for Biophysics. The $100,000 2019 Prize for Chemistry will be shared among the three recipients and will be awarded to them in person later this year.