The Nobel Assembly has awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Joachim Frank of Columbia University and Richard Henderson of MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, United Kingdom "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution." The National Science Foundation (NSF) supported Frank through several awards over the course of three decades. NSF also provided funding for U.S. research collaborations with Dubochet.
NSF Director France Córdova issued the following statement on the Nobel announcement:
Cryo-electron microscopy fundamentally changed biology and biochemistry, allowing scientists to create 3-D reconstructions of the biomolecular processes that support life. The technology delivers an unprecedented look at life at the atomic scale, providing us with accurate models of everything from viruses to antibodies. Joachim Frank demonstrated that potential to NSF in 1984, when the agency helped him acquire a high-resolution electron microscope for 3-D reconstruction, and then continued to support his development of new applications for the technology over the following decades. Biochemistry owes Frank and this year's other two Chemistry laureates, Richard Henderson and Jacques Dubochet, a debt of thanks for this important visualization tool.