What an honor it will be to welcome a Nobel Laureate to EAS! Kurt Wüthrich was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2002, shared with John Fenn and Koichi Tanaka, “for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution”. He conducted his work at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich, Switzerland, and at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA. His biography on Nobelprize.org is well worth reading. He grew up in rural Switzerland, an area of farms and forests and early in life, with his love for plants and animals, wanted to be a forest engineer. In school, he became interested in physics and in mathematics and continued in that field, eventually graduating from the University of Basel with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. In reading his bio, I also found out that he has a connection with New Jersey, having worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill in the 60’s. There, he was in charge of one of the first high resolution NMR spectrometers and, as he describes it, was “free to use the instrument” to do his research on protein structure. The EAS audience is well aware of the power of multidimensional NMR in elucidating the tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins in solution, giving insight to the biological function of these proteins. The impact of this pioneering research on protein structure has now moved from biochemistry into pharmacology with the recent surge in protein therapeutics.
Asked in a 2009 interview what had changed in his life since winning the Nobel Prize, Prof. Wüthrich responded that he was now asked to “give plenary lectures rather than talks in parallel sessions.” It is la rançon de la gloire (the price of fame), and we are thrilled that he accepted EAS President Oscar Liu’s invitation to speak at our symposium. Prof. Wüthrich’s lecture will be on Monday, Nov 16 at 4:30 PM in the Double Tree Hotel in Somerset, NJ. All registered attendees of EAS are welcome to attend.