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A distinguished career

Kurt Wüthrich has had a successful career both in Switzerland and the US (ETH)

Swiss scientist, Kurt Wüthrich, is professor in Biophysics at ETH Zürich, Switzerland and visiting professor at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.

His specialty is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for which he was co-awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Born in 1938 in Aarberg, Switzerland, Wüthrich studied in Bern, and went on to do his PhD in inorganic chemistry 1964 at the University of Basel.

Following postdoctoral studies at the renowned University of California at Berkeley, he worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the USA.

Wüthrich returned to academia in 1969 at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, rising through the ranks to be appointed Professor of Biophysics in 1980.

Since 2001, he has been visiting professor of structural biology at the Scripps research Institute at La Jolla in California.

Pioneering research

Wüthrich's research interests are in molecular structural biology, protein science and structural genomics.

His work in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for biological macromolecules is what earned him half of this year's chemistry prize.

The process allows scientists to form a picture of what a protein really looks like and can be used to draw a three-dimensional picture of the molecule being studied.

This knowledge has enabled researchers to better understand how the body cells in work, and helped them develop new and more effective drugs as well as improved diagnostic tools.

Sixty-four-year-old Wüthrich is married and has two children.