Sigma Xi Member Jennifer A. Doudna Receives Nobel Prize in Chemistry

October 08, 2020

Sigma Xi member Jennifer A. Doudna was selected today by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to receive the historic 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Emmanuelle Charpentier for the development of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.

Doudna and Charpentier have discovered, what the Nobel Prize website is calling, “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools.” The CRISPR/Cas9 technology allows researchers to edit the genomic DNA of animals, plants, and microorganisms with tremendously high precision. The Nobel Prize website notes, “This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.”

Doudna is a Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She was inducted into the Claremont Colleges Chapter of Sigma Xi in 1985. 

On a phone call Doudna received announcing the Nobel Prize, she was asked to share her thoughts on two female Laurates receiving this award, she stated, “ I think among women and girls there is a sense that their work will not be recognized the way that it would be if they were a man. I hope this recognition changes that at least a little bit.”

“Dr. Doudna has pioneered a revolutionary era in genomics. The full impact of this work has yet to be determined, but the potential to improve the human condition is enormous,” said Jamie Vernon, Sigma Xi executive director and CEO. “As a member of Sigma Xi, Dr. Doudna embodies the ethics and values we seek to promote in all researchers, and we celebrate her success.”

The prize amount is 10 million Swedish kronor, or U.S. 1,125,750.00, to be shared equally between the Laureates.


More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety