Kurt Wüthrich

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Kurt Wüthrich
Kurt Wuthrich in 2022 at Scripps 02.jpg
Wüthrich in 2022
Born (1938-10-04) 4 October 1938 (age 84)
Alma mater
Known forProtein NMR
Transverse relaxation-optimized spectroscopy
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorSilvio Fallab[2]

Kurt Wüthrich (born 4 October 1938 in Aarberg, Canton of Bern) is a Swiss chemist/biophysicist and Nobel Chemistry laureate, known for developing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods for studying biological macromolecules.[3][4][5][6][7]

Education and early life[edit]

Born in Aarberg, Switzerland, Wüthrich was educated in chemistry, physics, and mathematics at the University of Bern before pursuing his Ph.D. supervised by Silvio Fallab[8] at the University of Basel, awarded in 1964.[9][10]


After his PhD, Wüthrich continued postdoctoral research with Fallab for a short time before leaving to work at the University of California, Berkeley for two years from 1965 with Robert E. Connick. That was followed by a stint working with Robert G. Shulman at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey from 1967 to 1969.

Wüthrich returned to Switzerland, to Zürich, in 1969, where he began his career there at the ETH Zürich, rising to Professor of Biophysics by 1980. He currently maintains a laboratory at the ETH Zürich, at The Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California and at the iHuman Institute of ShanghaiTech University. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh (1997–2000), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (where he was an Honorary Professor) and Yonsei University.[8]

During his graduate studies Wüthrich started out working with electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the subject of his Ph.D. thesis was "the catalytic activity of copper compounds in autoxidation reactions".[11] During his time as a postdoc in Berkeley he began working with the newly developed and related technique of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study the hydration of metal complexes. When Wüthrich joined the Bell Labs, he was put in charge of one of the first superconducting NMR spectrometers, and started studying the structure and dynamics of proteins. He has pursued this line of research ever since.

After returning to Switzerland, Wüthrich collaborated with, among others, Nobel laureate Richard R. Ernst on developing the first two-dimensional NMR experiments, and established the nuclear Overhauser effect as a convenient way of measuring distances within proteins. This research later led to the complete assignment of resonances for among others the bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and glucagon.

In October 2010, Wüthrich participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Lunch with a Laureate program where middle and high school students will get to engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize–winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch.[12] Wüthrich is also a member on the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board.,[13] and a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reform in the United Nations.[14]

Awards and honors[edit]

He was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University in 1991, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 1993, the Otto Warburg Medal in 1999 and half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for "his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution". He received the Bijvoet Medal of the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research of Utrecht University in 2008.[15] He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2010.[16] He was also awarded the 2018 Fray International Sustainability Award at SIPS 2018 by FLOGEN Star Outreach [17]

Personal details[edit]

On 2 April 2018, Dr. Wüthrich established permanent residency in Shanghai, China, after obtaining a Chinese permanent residence card.[18][19]


  • NMR in Biological Research: Peptides and Proteins, American Elsevier Pub. Co, 1976[20]
  • NMR of proteins and nucleic acids, Wiley, 1986[21]
  • NMR In Structural Biology: A Collection Of Papers By Kurt Wuthrich, World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd, 1995[22]


  1. ^ "Professor Kurt WÜTHRICH | Jeantet". 1 October 2017.
  2. ^ Scripps: The Wüthrich Laboratory
  3. ^ Kurt Wuthrich faculty page Archived 2 August 2004 at the Wayback Machine at ETH Zürich
  4. ^ 'An Interview with Kurt Wuthrich Freeview video by the Vega Science Trust
  5. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2002". NobelPrize.org.
  6. ^ "Welcome to the Wüthrich Laboratory". Scripps Institute. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Wüthrich, Kurt". hls-dhs-dss.ch.
  8. ^ a b "Wüthrich's CV". The Scripps Research Institute. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  9. ^ Wüthrich, Kurt (2003). "Kurt Wüthrich: biographical note". Journal of Biomolecular NMR. 27 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1023/A:1024756526171. ISSN 0925-2738. S2CID 37721523.
  10. ^ Palmer, Arthur G; Patel, Dinshaw J (2002). "Kurt Wüthrich and NMR of Biological Macromolecules". Structure. 10 (12): 1603–1604. doi:10.1016/S0969-2126(02)00915-2. ISSN 0969-2126. PMID 12467565.
  11. ^ "Kurt Wüthrich - Life Paths". Lindau Nobel Mediatheque. Retrieved 2022-05-09.
  12. ^ "Usasciencefestival.org lunch with a laureate". Archived from the original on 21 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Usasciencefestival.org". Archived from the original on 21 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Overview". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Bijvoet Medal". Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Kurt Wuthrich Winner of the Fray Award". www.flogen.org.
  18. ^ "Nobel Prize winner becomes permanent Shanghai resident". chinaplus.cri.cn. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Nobel Prize laureate becomes permanent Shanghai resident – SHINE". SHINE. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  20. ^ Wüthrich, Kurt (1976). NMR in biological research: peptides and proteins. Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co. ISBN 0-444-11031-3. OCLC 1858425.
  21. ^ Wüthrich, Kurt (1986). NMR of proteins and nucleic acids. New York. ISBN 0-471-82893-9. OCLC 13425181.
  22. ^ Wüthrich, Kurt (1995). NMR in structural biology: a collection of papers by Kurt Wüthrich. Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-2242-4. OCLC 32589290.

External links[edit]

  • Kurt Wüthrich on Nobelprize.org Edit this at Wikidata including the Nobel Lecture NMR Studies of Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules