Professor Hiroaki Suga awarded 2023 Wolf Prize

Professor Hiroaki Suga awarded 2023 Wolf Prize

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  • 9 February 2023
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CIPPS Partner Investigator Professor Hiroaki Suga, from The University of Tokyo, has been awarded the 2023 Wolf Prize for Chemistry. Professor Suga has been recognised for his ground-breaking work developing RNA-based catalysts that have revolutionised the discovery of bioactive peptides. The prize was also awarded to Professors Chuan He and Jeffery W. Kelly for their “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.”

In nature, most peptides and proteins are made in the ribosome and are composed of the 20 natural amino acids only. Professor Suga’s work involved replicating the processes of the ribosome in a laboratory environment to allow for artificial peptide and protein production. The development of his RNA catalyst, the flezixyme, has allowed for unnatural amino acids to be incorporated into his peptides and proteins. This revolutionary development enables the production of a huge variety of peptide and protein sequences and structures that could not be created in nature.

Using the power of the flexizyme, Professor Suga developed RaPID, an innovative platform that facilitates the screening of billions of peptides against a protein target to find binders. RaPID is now used widely around the world, including by many groups within CIPPS to find potential targets for important proteins, including those implicated in stroke and SARS-CoV-2.

The Wolf prize is announced annually to recognise international scientists and artists for “their achievements in the interest of mankind”. The scientific categories include Medicine, Agriculture, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics. The prize is extremely prestigious, considered second only to the Nobel Prize. It consists of a certificate and monetary award of $100,000 USD.

CIPPS congratulates Professor Suga on this incredible achievement!

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