Born: 28 January 1938, Stockholm, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Francis Crick Institute, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair"
Prize share: 1/3
Tomas Lindahl was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, where he received his doctorate in 1967. After postdoctoral research at Princeton University in New Jersey and Rockefeller University in New York he became a professor in medical and physiological chemistry at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Since 1981 he has worked for Cancer Research UK at Clare Hall Laboratories, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.
Living cells have DNA molecules that carry an organism's genes. For the organism to live and develop, its DNA cannot change. DNA molecules are not completely stable, and they can be damaged. From the mid 1970s, through studies of bacteria, Tomas Lindahl showed how certain protein molecules, repair enzymes, remove and replace damaged parts of DNA. These discoveries have increased our understanding of how the living cell works, the causes of cancer and aging processes.