The 2023 Wolf Prize in Chemistry is awarded jointly to Chuan He, The University of Chicago, IL, USA, Hiroaki Suga, The University of Tokyo, Japan, and Jeffery W. Kelly, Scripps Research, La Jolla, CA, USA, “for pioneering discoveries that illuminate the functions and pathological dysfunctions of RNA and proteins and for creating strategies to harness the capabilities of these biopolymers in new ways to ameliorate human diseases.”
Chuan He is honored “for discovering reversible RNA methylation and its role in the regulation of gene expression,” Hiroaki Suga is awarded “for developing RNA-based catalysts that revolutionized the discovery of bioactive peptides,” and Jeffery W. Kelly is honored “for developing a clinical strategy to ameliorate pathological protein aggregation.”
The Wolf Prizes are international awards honoring scientists and artists “for their achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples”. The scientific categories of the prize are medicine, agriculture, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The Wolf Prizes in Physics and Chemistry are often considered the most prestigious awards in those fields after the Nobel Prize. The Wolf Prizes have been awarded by the Wolf Foundation since 1978 and come with USD 100,000 in prize money. This year, the Wolf Prize laureates in chemistry will be honored at the ICS Symposium on June 14, 2023, at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.
Chuan He is awarded the Wolf Prize for his pioneering work elucidating the chemistry and functional consequences of RNA modification. He discovered reversible RNA methylation, leading to a conceptual breakthrough regarding the functional roles of RNA modifications in the regulation of gene expression. His laboratory discovered the first RNA demethylase, an enzyme that removes the methyl group from N6-methyladenosine, the most prevalent mRNA modification in eukaryotes.
Chuan He studied chemistry at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, where he completed his Ph.D. in 2000. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA, from 2000 to 2002 and then served as Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and to Full Professor in 2010. He served as Director at the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics from 2012 to 2017. Since 2014, he is an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor.
Among other honors, Chuan He has received the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award in 2008, the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry Early Career Award in 2010, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2015, and the Paul Marks Prize in Cancer Research in 2017.
Hiroaki Suga is awarded the Wolf Prize for developing an exceptionally innovative in-vitro selection system for cyclic peptides as inhibitors of protein–protein aggregation. He invented an RNA-based catalyst, a “flexizyme”, that transcends natural mechanisms and vastly expands the range of amino acids that can be incorporated with ribosomal machinery. His strategy enables the rapid construction and screening of enormous libraries of cyclic peptides. His discovery has established a new approach to medicinal chemistry and generated new tools for drug discovery.
Hiroaki Suga studied engineering at Okayama University, Japan, and chemistry at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Ph.D. at MIT in 1994. From 1994 to 1997, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 1997, he became Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, USA. In 2002, he was promoted to Associate Professor. From 2003 to 2005, Suga served as Associate Professor at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2005. Since 2010, he serves as Professor at the Graduate School of Science of the University of Tokyo. He founded PeptiDream, a publicly traded company and one of Japan’s most successful startup companies.
Among other honors, Suga has received the Akabori Memorial Award in 2014 from the Japanese Peptide Society, the Max-Bergmann Gold Medal in 2016 from the German Peptide Society, and the Nagoya Silver Medal in 2017. He is Advosory Editor of Angewandte Chemie.
Jeffery W. Kelly
Jeffery W. Kelly is awarded the Wolf Prize for developing a new and clinically impactful strategy to ameliorate disease caused by pathological protein aggregation. His seminal contributions revealed fundamental features of protein homeostasis (proteostasis) at the molecular level, including the interplay among protein folding, misfolding, and aggregation. Dysregulation of proteostasis is associated with a spectrum of human disease. Kelly’s group used these fundamental insights to develop the drug tafamidis, which slows disease progression in patients suffering from transthyretin amyloidosis.
Jeffery W. Kelly studied chemistry at the State University of New York at Fredonia, USA, and received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, in 1986. He performed post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University, New York, USA, from 1986 to 1989. From 1989 to 1995, Kelly served as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, College Station, USA. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 and to Full Professor in 1997. He joined Scripps Research in 2000, where he now is Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry. Kelly has co-founded three biotechnology companies: FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, Proteostasis Therapeutics, and Misfolding Diagnostics.
Among other honors, Kelly has received The Protein Society – Dupont Young Investigator Award in 1999, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2000, the American Peptide Society Vincent du Vigneaud Award in 2006, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry in 2011, the E.B. Hershberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances in 2019, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2022.
- Wolf Foundation, Israel
Selected Publications by Chuan He
- spKAS-seq reveals R-loop dynamics using low-input materials by detecting single-stranded DNA with strand specificity,
Tong Wu, Ruitu Lyu, Chuan He,
Sci. Adv. 2022.
- BID-seq: The Quantitative and Base-Resolution Sequencing Method for RNA Pseudouridine,
Li-Sheng Zhang, Qing Dai, Chuan He,
ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 18, 4–6.
- METTL4-mediated nuclear N6-deoxyadenosine methylation promotes metastasis through activating multiple metastasis-inducing targets,
Kai-Wen Hsu, Joseph Chieh-Yu Lai, Jeng-Shou Chang, Pei-Hua Peng, Ching-Hui Huang, Der-Yen Lee, Yu-Cheng Tsai, Chi-Jung Chung, Han Chang, Chao-Hsiang Chang, Ji-Lin Chen, See-Tong Pang, Ziyang Hao, Xiao-Long Cui, Chuan He, Kou-Juey Wu,
Genome Biol. 2022.
- High-Resolution N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) Map Using Photo-Crosslinking-Assisted m6A Sequencing,
Kai Chen, Zhike Lu, Xiao Wang, Ye Fu, Guan-Zheng Luo, Nian Liu, Dali Han, Dan Dominissini, Qing Dai, Tao Pan, Chuan He,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 1587–1590.
- N6-methyladenosine-dependent regulation of messenger RNA stability,
Xiao Wang, Zhike Lu, Adrian Gomez, Gary C. Hon, Yanan Yue, Dali Han, Ye Fu, Marc Parisien, Qing Dai, Guifang Jia, Bing Ren, Tao Pan, Chuan He,
Nature 2013, 505, 117–120.
- N6-Methyladenosine in nuclear RNA is a major substrate of the obesity-associated FTO,
Guifang Jia, Ye Fu, Xu Zhao, Qing Dai, Guanqun Zheng, Ying Yang, Chengqi Yi, Tomas Lindahl, Tao Pan, Yun-Gui Yang, Chuan He,
Nat. Chem. Biol. 2011, 7, 885–887.
- Tet Proteins Can Convert 5-Methylcytosine to 5-Formylcytosine and 5-Carboxylcytosine,
Shinsuke Ito, Li Shen, Qing Dai, Susan C. Wu, Leonard B. Collins, James A. Swenberg, Chuan He, Yi Zhang,
Science 2011, 333, 1300–1303.
Selected Publications by Hiroaki Suga
- Label-free quantification of passive membrane permeability of cyclic peptides across lipid bilayers: penetration speed of cyclosporin A across lipid bilayers,
Takahiro Ono, Kazuhito V. Tabata, Yuki Goto, Yutaro Saito, Hiroaki Suga, Hiroyuki Noji, Jumpei Morimoto, Shinsuke Sando,
Chem. Sci. 2023, 14, 345–349.
- Potent De Novo Macrocyclic Peptides That Inhibit O‐GlcNAc Transferase through an Allosteric Mechanism,
Matthew G. Alteen, Hayden Peacock, Richard W. Meek, Jil A. Busmann, Sha Zhu, Gideon J. Davies, Hiroaki Suga, David J. Vocadlo,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022.
- Designing receptor agonists with enhanced pharmacokinetics by grafting macrocyclic peptides into fragment crystallizable regions,
Katsuya Sakai, Nozomi Sugano-Nakamura, Emiko Mihara, Nichole Marcela Rojas-Chaverra, Sayako Watanabe, Hiroki Sato, Ryu Imamura, Dominic Chih-Cheng Voon, Itsuki Sakai, Chihiro Yamasaki, Chise Tateno, Mikihiro Shibata, Hiroaki Suga, Junichi Takagi, Kunio Matsumoto,
Nat. Biomed. Eng. 2022.
- Macrocyclic Peptides as Drug Candidates: Recent Progress and Remaining Challenges,
Alexander A. Vinogradov, Yizhen Yin, Hiroaki Suga,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 4167–4181.
- Flexizymes for genetic code reprogramming,
Yuki Goto, Takayuki Katoh, Hiroaki Suga,
Nat. Protoc. 2011, 6, 779–790.
- Natural Product-Like Macrocyclic N-Methyl-Peptide Inhibitors against a Ubiquitin Ligase Uncovered from a Ribosome-Expressed De Novo Library,
Yusuke Yamagishi, Ikuo Shoji, Shoji Miyagawa, Takashi Kawakami, Takayuki Katoh, Yuki Goto, Hiroaki Suga,
Chem. Biol. 2011, 18, 1562–1570.
Selected Publications by Jeffery W. Kelly
- Tafamidis concentration required for transthyretin stabilisation in cerebrospinal fluid,
Felix J. Tsai, Marcus Jaeger, Teresa Coelho, Evan T. Powers, Jeffery W. Kelly,
- Characterising diflunisal as a transthyretin kinetic stabilizer at relevant concentrations in human plasma using subunit exchange,
Felix J. Tsai, Luke T. Nelson, Gabriel M. Kline, Marcus Jäger, John L. Berk, Yoshiki Sekijima, Evan T. Powers, Jeffery W. Kelly,
- Tafamidis polyneuropathy amelioration requires modest increases in transthyretin stability even though increases in plasma native TTR and decreases in non-native TTR do not predict response,
Cecília Monteiro, Jaleh S. Mesgarzadeh, João Anselmo, Joana Fernandes, Marta Novais, Carla Rodrigues, David L. Powers, Evan T. Powers, Teresa Coelho, Jeffery W. Kelly,
- Synthesis of Sulfotyrosine-Containing Peptides by Incorporating Fluorosulfated Tyrosine Using an Fmoc-Based Solid-Phase Strategy,
Wentao Chen, Jiajia Dong, Suhua Li, Yu Liu, Yujia Wang, Leonard Yoon, Peng Wu, K. Barry Sharpless, Jeffery W. Kelly,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 1835–1838.
- Biological and Chemical Approaches to Diseases of Proteostasis Deficiency,
Evan T. Powers, Richard I. Morimoto, Andrew Dillin, Jeffery W. Kelly, William E. Balch,
Ann. Rev. Biochem. 2009, 78, 959–991.
- Adapting Proteostasis for Disease Intervention,
William E. Balch, Richard I. Morimoto, Andrew Dillin, Jeffery W. Kelly,
Science 2008, 319, 916–919.
- Functional amyloid – from bacteria to humans,
Douglas M. Fowler, Atanas V. Koulov, William E. Balch, Jeffery W. Kelly,
Trends Biochem. Sci. 2007, 32, 217–224.
Also of Interest
- 2022 Wolf Prize in Chemistry Announced,
Bonnie L. Bassler, Princeton University, Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Stanford University, and Benjamin F. Cravatt III, Scripps Research, honored
- Wolf Prize in Chemistry 2021 Announced,
Leslie Leiserowitz and Meir Lahav, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, honored
- 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
Stephen L. Buchwald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and John F. Hartwig, University of California at Berkeley, both USA, honored
- 2017 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
Robert G. Bergman, University of California, Berkeley, USA, honored
- 2016 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
K. C. Nicolaou and Stuart L. Schreiber honored
- 2014 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
Professor Chi-Huey Wong, Academia Sinica and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA, is this year’s winner
- 2013 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
The 2013 Wolf Prize is awarded to Robert Langer, USA, for his work on controlled-release drug delivery systems
- 2012 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
The 2012 Wolf Prize recognizes Paul Alivisatos and Charles Lieber, pioneers in nanotechnology
- 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry,
This year’s Wolf Prize in chemistry goes jointly to Stuart A. Rice, Ching Tang, and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski