For outstanding accomplishments in one or more of the areas of biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, biophysics, and/or chemical biology.
Professor Eric Kool is the recipient of the 2019 Biopolymers Murray Goodman Memorial Prize for his seminal contributions to DNA and RNA chemistry, including dramatic alterations of the nucleobases to decipher hydrogen bonding, base stacking and other molecular recognition aspects of nucleic acids and their protein partners. His contributions provide molecular tools for the study of cellular biopolymers and extend the reach of synthetic polymers to new applications. Eric is currently The George A. and Hilda M. Daubert Professor in Chemistry at Stanford University. He also belongs to Bio-X, Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute, the Maternal & Child Health Research Institute, the Stanford Cancer Institute, and is affiliated with Stanford ChEM-H, an institute bringing together physical sciences and engineering with medicine and human biology with the goal of tackling challenges in human health.
There are many highlights to Eric’s multiple contributions to the field. These include the development of rolling circle amplification based on circular oligonucleotides, and the idea that non-hydrogen bonding isosteres of DNA bases can function normally as part of DNA, showing that polymerase replication can occur without Watson-Crick hydrogen bonding. He went on to use modified DNA bases to investigate the role that aromatic stacking plays in DNA structure and thermodynamics, and has also developed new, size-expanded oligonucleotides, called xDNA, that increase the information that can be encoded by a DNA sequence and could be used to study the DNA replication machinery.