An American is among the winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Nobel committee awarded Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, Turkey's Aziz Sancar, and American Paul Modrich for their work on DNA repair on Wednesday, reports the CBC. The scientists "mapped and explained how the cell repairs its DNA and safeguards the genetic information," the committee said, per the Guardian, before describing their individual accomplishments. Lindahl discovered the rate of DNA decay and base excision repair, which offsets the deterioration. Sancar mapped how cells repair UV damage to DNA, while Modrich showed "how cells correct errors when DNA is replicated during cell division," the committee said.
Together, their work "has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments," the committee added. Lindahl says understanding DNA repair is crucial to prevent early deaths associated with defective DNA repair, and in the future, the scientists' research "can provide better treatment and better drugs." As for the prize, "it was a surprise," says Lindahl. "I knew that over the years I have been occasionally considered, but so have hundreds of other people. I feel very lucky and proud to be selected." The Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded Thursday, followed by the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. (Read more Nobel Prize stories.)