And then there were two

When Dr. Aziz Sancar stepped to the podium to speak about winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (along with Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Paul Modrich of Duke University), he credited his success to his many collaborators, and to UNC’s supportive environment.

“I am very grateful to all of you for working so hard,” he said, “and to the University of North Carolina.”

In 1982, UNC was the only place that offered positions to him and his wife Gwen, also a biochemistry researcher who worked with Sancar, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry in the UNC School of Medicine.

The prize honors Sancar’s work mapping the cellular mechanisms that underlie DNA repair, which occurs every minute due to environmental factors. When this repair system fails, people exposed to sunlight develop skin cancer.

Sancar is UNC’s second nobel laureate. In 2007, Oliver Smithies, Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professorship of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Read the complete Carolina Story

This is story number 105 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

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