Oslo: A beaming Aziz Sancar, the Turkish born US scientist who has shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two other scientists after winning the prestigious award while admitting that it was unexpected said he was proud of his native country as well as the adopted country.
"I am of course honoured to get this recognition for all the work I've done over the years. But I'm also proud for my family and for my native country and my adopted country, and especially for Turkey it's quite important", he said while talking to Adam Smith of Nobelprize.org.
Aziz Sancar of University of North Carolina, USA has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Tomas Lindahl of Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, UK and Paul Modrich of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, USA.
The award has been conferred to them for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments.
Born in Savur, Turkey in 1946, Aziz Sancar has mapped nucleotide excision repair, the mechanism that cells use to repair UV damage to DNA. People born with defects in this repair system will develop skin cancer if they are exposed to sunlight. The cell also utilises nucleotide excision repair to correct defects caused by mutagenic substances, among other things.
Aziz Sancar is the first Turkish born scientist to receive the Nobel Prize. Earlier, Orhan Pamuk got it in Literature.
In response to another question by Adam Smith, Aziz Sancar said, "I just got a call half an hour ago. My wife took it and woke me up. I wasn't expecting it at all, I was very surprised."