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UT Dallas Alum Wins Nobel Prize


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The award was won with fellow chemists Tomas Linahl and Paul Modrich. Sancar is now a biochemist at the University of North Carolina.

The research that won the prize delved deep into the way DNA’s constant damage is repaired through a process called nucleotide excision repair. They focused specifically on how DNA repairs itself after being damaged by ultraviolet radiation.

“DNA repair is basically what keeps us alive,” Sancar said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “We’re continuously bombarded with all kinds of agents that destroy DNA, but the major ones are sunlight, which causes skin cancer, and more importantly cigarette smoke and industrial pollution, which cause lung cancer.”

Sancar, originally from Turkey, moved to the U.S. in the 1970s after attending medical school in Istanbul. He was among the first to go to UT Dallas, and chose the school because he wanted to be mentored by Claud Stanley Rupert, who was seen as a pioneer in DNA repair research at the time. Sancar’s Prize adds to the six North Texas Nobel Laureates in healthcare.

To read more about Sancar and his research, you can read the full interview at the Dallas Morning News here.

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