Carolyn R. Bertozzi

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Carolyn R. Bertozzi
Carolyn Bertozzi IMG 9384.jpg
Born (1966-10-10) October 10, 1966 (age 54)
Alma materHarvard University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Francisco
Known forBioorthogonal Chemistry
AwardsMacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1999)
ACS Award in Pure Chemistry (2001)
Lemelson-MIT Prize (2010)
Heinrich Wieland Prize (2012)
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University
University of California, Berkeley
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
University of California, San Francisco
Doctoral studentsLara Mahal Mireille Kamariza
InfluencedKristi Kiick

Carolyn Ruth Bertozzi (born October 10, 1966) is an American chemist. Bertozzi is known for founding a new field of chemistry: bioorthogonal chemistry.[1] At Stanford University, she holds the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professorship in the School of Humanities and Sciences.[2] Bertozzi is also an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)[3] and is the former Director of the Molecular Foundry, a nanoscience research center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.[4] She received the MacArthur "genius" award at age 33.[5] In 2010, she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Prize faculty award. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2005), the Institute of Medicine (2011), and the National Academy of Inventors (2013). In 2014, it was announced that Bertozzi would lead ACS Central Science, the American Chemical Society's first peer-reviewed open access journal that offers all content free to the public.[6] As an open and out lesbian in academia and science, Dr. Bertozzi has been an excellent role model for her students and colleagues.[7][8]

Education and career[edit]

Carolyn Bertozzi received her B.A. summa cum laude in chemistry from Harvard University, where she worked with Professor Joe Grabowski on the design and construction of a photoacoustic calorimeter.[9] While an undergraduate, she played in various bands. Her most notable one was Bored of Education, which included future Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.[10][11] After graduating, she worked at Bell Labs with Chris Chidsey.[12]

Bertozzi completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at UC Berkeley in 1993 with Professor Mark Bednarski, working on the chemical synthesis of oligosaccharide analogs.[13] While working under Professor Bednarski, she discovered that viruses can bind to sugars in the body.[14] The discovery led her to her current field of research glycobiology. During Bertozzi’s 3rd year of graduate school, Bednarski was diagnosed with colon cancer which resulted in him taking a leave of absence and changing his career path by enrolling in medical school. This left Bertozzi and the rest of the lab to complete their Ph.D. with no direct supervision.[15] After completing a Ph.D., Bertozzi was a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF with Professor Steven Rosen, where she studied the activity of endothelial oligosaccharides in promoting cell adhesion at inflammation sites.[16][17] While working with Professor Rosen, Bertozzi was able to modify the protein and sugar molecules in the walls of living cells so that the cells accept foreign materials such as implants.[18]

Bertozzi joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1996.[16] She has been an investigator with HHMI since 2000.[4] In 1999, while working with HHMI and at UC Berkeley, she founded the field of bioorthogonal chemistry and coined the term in 2003.[19][20][21] This new field and technique allows researchers to chemically modify molecules in living organisms and not interrupt the processes of the cell.[22] In 2015, Bertozzi moved to Stanford University to join the ChEM-H Institute.[23]

Bertozzi studies the glycobiology of underlying diseases such as cancer, inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. In particular, Bertozzi has advanced the understanding of cell surface oligosaccharides involved in cell recognition and inter-cellular communication. Bertozzi has applied the techniques of bioorthogonal chemistry to study glycocalyx, the sugars that surround the cell membrane. Her discoveries have advanced the field of biotherapeutics.[24] Her lab has also developed tools for research. One such development is creating chemical tools for studying glycans in living systems.[4] Her lab's development of nanotechnologies which probe biological systems lead to the development of a fast point-of-care tuberculosis test in 2018.[25][26] In 2017, due to her lab's discovery of linking the sugars on the surface of cancer cells and their ability to avoid the immune system defenses, she was invited to speak at Stanford's TED talk,[27] giving a talk entitled "What the sugar coating on your cells is trying to tell you".

Biotechnology startups[edit]

In addition to her academic work, Bertozzi works actively with biotechnology start-ups. She has served on the research advisory board of GlaxoSmithKline. In the early 2000s, Bertozzi and Steve Rosen co-founded Thios Pharmaceuticals the first company to target sulfation pathways.[28] In 2008, Bertozzi founded a startup of her own: Redwood Bioscience of Emeryville, California.[29] Redwood Bioscience is a biotechnology company that uses SMARTag, a site-specific protein modification technology that allows small drugs to attach to sites on the proteins and can be used to help fight cancers.[14][30] Redwood Bioscience was acquired by Catalent Pharma Solutions in 2014. Bertozzi remains a part of the advisory board for the biologics sector of the company.[30] In 2014, she co-founded Enable Biosciences which focuses on biotechnologies for at-home diagnoses for type 1 diabetes, HIV, and other diseases.[19][31] Bertozzi became a co-founder of Palleon Pharma of Waltham, Massachusetts, in 2015.[32] Palleon Pharma focuses on investigating glycoimmune checkpoint inhibitors as a potential treatment for cancer.[33] In 2017, Bertozzi helped found InterVenn Biosciences, which uses mass spectrometry and artificial intelligence to enhance glycoproteomics for target and biomarker discovery, ovarian cancer diagnostics, and predicting the successes and failures of clinical trials.[19][34] She co-founded Grace Science Foundation in 2018. The foundation focuses on curing NGLY1 deficiency through developing therapeutics that are efficient and inexpensive.[35] In 2019 she co-founded both OliLux Biosciences and Lycia Therapeutics. OliLux Biosciences develops new methods for tuberculosis detection.[19][36] The founding of Lycia Therapeutics occurred when Bertozzi's group discovered lysosome-targeting chimeras (LYTACs). The new molecule class may be able to degrade some cardiovascular disease and cancer targets.[37] Lycia Therapeutics focuses on developing technology which utilizes lysosome-targeting chimeras (LYTACs).[19]


Bertozzi has over 600 publications on Web of Science, listed below are the most cited:

  • Sletten, EM; Bertozzi, CR (2009). "Bioorthogonal Chemistry: Fishing for Selectivity in a Sea of Functionality". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 48 (38): 6974–98. doi:10.1002/anie.200900942. PMC 2864149. PMID 19714693.
  • Bertozzi, Carolyn R.; Kiessling, Laura L. (2001). "Chemical Glycobiology". Science. 291 (5512): 2357–64. Bibcode:2001Sci...291.2357B. doi:10.1126/science.1059820. PMID 11269316. S2CID 9585674.
  • Saxon, Eliana; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2000). "Cell Surface Engineering by a Modified Staudinger Reaction". Science. 287 (5460): 2007–10. Bibcode:2000Sci...287.2007S. doi:10.1126/science.287.5460.2007. PMID 10720325. S2CID 19720277.
  • Agard, Nicholas J.; Prescher, Jennifer A.; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2005). "A Strain-Promoted [3 + 2] Azide−Alkyne Cycloaddition for Covalent Modification of Biomolecules in Living Systems". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 126 (46): 15046–15047. doi:10.1021/ja044996f. PMID 15547999.
  • Dube, DH; Bertozzi, CR (2005). "Glycans in cancer and inflammation--potential for therapeutics and diagnostics". Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 4 (6): 477–88. doi:10.1038/nrd1751. PMID 15931257. S2CID 22525932.

Awards and honors[edit]

Carolyn Bertozzi, receiving the Emanuel Merck Lectureship in 2011

Personal life[edit]

Carolyn Bertozzi grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. She has two sisters, one of whom, Andrea Bertozzi, is on the mathematics faculty at UCLA.[57] Her father, William Bertozzi, was a physics professor at MIT.[58][59] Bertozzi is married; she and her wife have three sons.[60]


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  9. ^ Grabowski, Joseph J.; Bertozzi, Carolyn R.; Jacobsen, John R.; Jain, Ahamindra; Marzluff, Elaine M.; Suh, Annie Y. (1992). "Fluorescence probes in biochemistry: An examination of the non-fluorescent behavior of dansylamide by photoacoustic calorimetry". Analytical Biochemistry. 207 (2): 214–26. doi:10.1016/0003-2697(92)90003-P. PMID 1481973.
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  16. ^ a b Davis, T. (16 February 2010). "Profile of Carolyn Bertozzi". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (7): 2737–2739. Bibcode:2010PNAS..107.2737D. doi:10.1073/pnas.0914469107. PMC 2840349. PMID 20160128.
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  21. ^ Sletten, Ellen M.; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2011-09-20). "From Mechanism to Mouse: A Tale of Two Bioorthogonal Reactions". Accounts of Chemical Research. 44 (9): 666–676. doi:10.1021/ar200148z. ISSN 0001-4842. PMC 3184615. PMID 21838330.
  22. ^ Sletten, Ellen M.; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2009). "Bioorthogonal Chemistry: Fishing for Selectivity in a Sea of Functionality". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 48 (38): 6974–6998. doi:10.1002/anie.200900942. ISSN 1433-7851. PMC 2864149. PMID 19714693.
  23. ^ "Carolyn R. Bertozzi". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  24. ^ Xiao, Han; Woods, Elliot C.; Vukojicic, Petar; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2016-08-22). "Precision glycocalyx editing as a strategy for cancer immunotherapy". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (37): 10304–10309. doi:10.1073/pnas.1608069113. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 5027407. PMID 27551071.
  25. ^ a b "Carolyn Bertozzi 2010 Lemelson-MIT Prize". MIT. Retrieved 13 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ Kamariza, Mireille; Shieh, Peyton; Ealand, Christopher S.; Peters, Julian S.; Chu, Brian; Rodriguez-Rivera, Frances P.; Babu Sait, Mohammed R.; Treuren, William V.; Martinson, Neil; Kalscheuer, Rainer; Kana, Bavesh D. (2018). "Rapid detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum with a solvatochromic trehalose probe". Science Translational Medicine. 10 (430): eaam6310. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aam6310. ISSN 1946-6242. PMC 5985656. PMID 29491187.
  27. ^ Bertozzi, Carolyn. "Carolyn Bertozzi | Speaker | TED". Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  28. ^ McCarthy, Alice A. (February 2004). "Thios Pharmaceuticals Targeting Sulfation Pathways" (PDF). Chemistry & Biology. 11: 147–148. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2004.02.008.
  29. ^ McCook, Alison (March 6, 2013). "Women in Biotechnology: Barred from the Boardroom". Scientific American. Retrieved 24 October 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  35. ^ "Grace Science Foundation | Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – an NCATS Program". Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  36. ^ Dinkele, Ryan; Gessner, Sophia; Koch, Anastasia S.; Morrow, Carl; Gqada, Melitta; Kamariza, Mireille; Bertozzi, Carolyn R.; Smith, Brian; McLoud, Courtney; Kamholz, Andrew; Bryden, Wayne (2019-12-27). "Capture and visualization of live Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli from tuberculosis bioaerosols". bioRxiv: 2019.12.23.887729. doi:10.1101/2019.12.23.887729. S2CID 213539003.
  37. ^ Banik, Steven; Pedram, Kayvon; Wisnovsky, Simon; Riley, Nicholas; Bertozzi, Carolyn (2019-11-20). "Lysosome Targeting Chimeras (LYTACs) for the Degradation of Secreted and Membrane Proteins". Figshare. doi:10.26434/chemrxiv.7927061.v2.
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External links[edit]