Bay Area woman wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry


Duncan Hall for Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer A. Doudna was one of the recipients for the Nobel Prize this year.

Santino Woo ’22, Staff Reporter

The Nobel Prize is a prestigious annual award that is given to those who help to make a difference in the world. 

This year, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to Jennifer A. Doudna, a professor and researcher at UC Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, the Director of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, for their “development of a method for genome editing.”

“A ‘genome’ is basically an individual organism’s entire sequence of DNA,” said  Colleen O’ Rourke, a Biology teacher and Science Department Chair at Archbishop Riordan High School. 

“What they discovered is a method of editing a genome with a much closer level of accuracy and precision than we ever have been able to do before. The technique is called CRISPR and in the eight years since its discovery, it has rapidly accelerated the field of genetic engineering in labs worldwide,” she said. 

This new technology is also being used to possibly cure forms of cancer, genetic diseases, HIV, etc.

Doudna and Charpentier’s achievement is significant because they are the first women to win the Nobel Prize in science together. Additionally, Doudna is the first woman to win such a greatly sought after award at UC Berkeley. 

Allen Forte’22 describes this achievement as, “amazing,” and goes on to say, “What they’ve done is incredible and it’s allowing you, me, and really anyone that has an inspiration and motivation to want to contribute to the world as much as they do.” 

O’ Rourke is extremely appreciative of Doudna and Charpentier’s work and said, “I am extra proud of how their win draws more attention to the important role women and other marginalized groups have always played in scientific advancement.”