Jacques Dubochet was born in Aigle, Switzerland. He studied physics at École Polytechnique at the University of Lausanne and subsequently molecular biology at the University of Geneva where he studied DNA electron microscopy. He completed his doctoral thesis on biophysics at the University of Geneva and the University of Basel in 1973. From 1978 to 1987 he worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg and later at the University of Lausanne. In 1987, Dubochet was appointed professor in the Department of Ultrastructural Analysis at the University of Lausanne and director of the Electron Microscopy Centre. From 1998 to 2002, he was head of the university's Biology Department. Jacques Dubochet is retired and does volunteer work. He has stated that he intends to take advantage of his sudden fame to raise awareness of issues he cares deeply about, like migration and climate change
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded jointly to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson "for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution".
"Fundamental processes of life are governed by a number of complicated molecules. The electron microscope, which uses electron beams instead of light, expands the possibilities to image these molecules. However, many biological molecules depend on water, which evaporates in the vacuum of an electron microscope. In the early 1980s Jean Dubochet succeeded in cooling the water so rapidly that it solidified around the molecules without the formation of distorting ice crystals. Electron microscope images provide knowledge that is important for the development of pharmaceuticals, among other things."
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
- Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- Joachim FrankChemistry Professor at Columbia University, New York, known for contributions in cryo-electron microscopy for the determination of structure of biomolecules. Frank won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017.
- Richard Henderson (biologist)British biochemist known for contributions in protein crystallography and electron microscopy of biological molecules.