Born: 8 September 1946, Savur, Turkey
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Prize motivation: "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair"
Prize share: 1/3
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. In 1983, through studies of bacteria, Aziz Sancar showed how certain protein molecules, certain repair enzymes, repair DNA damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light. These discoveries have increased our understanding of how the living cell works, the causes of cancer and aging processes.