Carolyn R. Bertozzi

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Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi

Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi (born October 10, 1966) is an American chemist and Nobel laureate. Known for her extensive work across chemistry and biology, Bertozzi introduced the term "bioorthogonal chemistry" for chemical reactions compatible with living systems. She has significantly contributed to understanding how cell surface sugars, or glycans, influence diseases like cancer, inflammation, and viral infections, including COVID-19.


Bertozzi received her A.B. summa cum laude in chemistry from Harvard University, where she developed a photoacoustic calorimeter. After graduating from Harvard in 1988, she completed her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993.

Career and Research

In 1996, Bertozzi joined the faculty of UC Berkeley and became a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she later served as the director of the Molecular Foundry. In 2015, she moved to Stanford University to join the ChEM-H Institute.

Bertozzi's primary research focus is the glycobiology of underlying diseases such as cancer, inflammatory disorders, and infectious diseases. She has developed novel techniques using bioorthogonal chemistry to study the glycocalyx, the sugars that surround the cell membrane. Her discoveries have advanced the field of biotherapeutics.

Nobel Prize

In 2022, Bertozzi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, jointly with Morten P. Meldal and Karl Barry Sharpless, "for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry."

Biotechnology Startups

Bertozzi has co-founded numerous biotechnology companies, such as Thios Pharmaceuticals, Redwood Bioscience, Enable Biosciences, Palleon Pharma, InterVenn Biosciences, Grace Science Foundation, OliLux Biosciences, and Lycia Therapeutics.

Personal Life

Bertozzi, an open lesbian in academia and science, has served as a role model for students and colleagues.