Awarded: Novel Prize goes to Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier

“Excellence is a choice.” This is the motto of Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier’s life, which she also and especially follows in her scientific work. For this excellent research, she has now been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020. In 2013, the researcher developed the CRISPR-Cas9 system along with her US colleague Jennifer Doudna. This system enables the targeted switching off or correction of defective genes. Its numerous application possibilities make it so special.


The Jung Foundation for Science and Research had already awarded the French scientist the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine for this groundbreaking discovery in 2015. Jochen Spethmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jung Foundation, is delighted about the renewed recognition of her work. “We warmly congratulate Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier on winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her research has brought human medicine a big step forward and great results can be expected.” Professor Dr. Hans-Ulrich Moritz was already a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees at the time of the awarding ceremony and was involved in the decision. “Mrs. Charpentier has done excellent research with the CRISPR-Cas9 system and her extraordinary achievements impressed us very much. In the long term, this technology holds out the prospect of individualised treatment of hereditary diseases or infectious diseases such as AIDS, a development that could save and improve many lives. For this, we have awarded her the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine in 2015. And I think that this new award for Mrs. Charpentier is a special confirmation for our Jung Prize as well”. Already in previous years, winners of the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine had received a Nobel Prize: Prof. Dr. Rolf Martin Zinkernagel in 1996 and Prof. Dr. Harald zur Hausen in 2008.


For Emmanuelle Charpentier, science is a discipline to which one commits oneself all one’s life. And the way you do research is a big part of yourself, she comments in our 2015 award ceremony interview. She relies a lot on intuition herself and stresses that you have to find your own way in science. An approach that has proven to be successful for her. For in addition to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine, she has more than two dozen other high-ranking prizes and nine honorary doctorates. Today, she is an honorary professor at Humboldt University Berlin and, since 2018, has also been founding director of the independent Max Planck Research Unit for the Science of Pathogens.


The complete award ceremony video of 2015 as well as further information can be found here.