BUAP researchers give their opinion on Nobel Prizes 2022 in Medicine, Chemistry and Physics

Science is experiencing a moment of growth and development, the result of multidisciplinary work at a global level. As part of the award ceremony Nobel 2022 to scientists in the areas of Medicine, Chemistry and Physics, BUAP reaffirms its commitment to the generation of knowledge, by approaching, from its different fields, cutting-edge lines of research that are consistent with this year’s award-winning works.

Studies in human evolutionary genomics, the so-called “click” and “bioorthogonal” Chemistry, as well as Quantum Mechanics, are topics and lines of research that are developed at the Maximum House of Studies in Puebla.

Selective reactions

Referring to the winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharples, Jesús Sandoval Ramírez, a researcher at the BUAP School of Chemical Sciences, recognized the contribution of his counterparts in the development of “click” and “bioorthogonal” chemistry, since both techniques are important in this discipline for obtaining organic molecules quickly, without producing too many by-products or that these can be quickly purified, and even that do not require purification. In other words, his research focuses on obtaining directed and selective reactions to generate beneficial organic compounds for human beings.

In this line of research, also level III of the National System of Researchers of Conacyt, reported that projects are carried out at BUAP to obtain safer synthesis methods. “In my case, I am working with reactions that are carried out very quickly and selectively; that is, instead of having reaction times of hours, I have reduced them to seconds. This has the consequence that by-products are not generated, so pure products are obtained”.

Based on this new approach, Dr. Sandoval Ramírez, whose doctoral thesis at the University of Paris XI was supervised by Sir Derek HR Barton, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1969, develops two projects of social importance: creating a new family of growth promoters plant and obtain compounds with anticancer activity. Both investigations arise from the same chemical structure: diosgenin, a natural product present in plants, many of them native to Mexico.

BUAP graduates contribute to the study of populations native of America, little represented in the world genomic archives

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Svante Pääbo, for his studies in human evolutionary genomics; that is, from ancient genetic material, particularly from ancestral individuals, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, a topic that BUAP graduates and students have addressed and their results have been published in journals such as diversitywhere recently appeared “History of genomic sequencing in Native Americans, and other technologies” (publication link. https://www.mdpi.com/1772462).

Its authors, graduates of Biomedicine and Biotechnology degrees, Israel Aguilar, Josué Guzmán Linares, María Fernanda Mirón Toruño, Judith Ballesteros, Alejandra Pérez and José Eduardo García collected 56 genomic studies of native populations of America, and found a total of 13 thousand native individuals studied by genomic technologies. This work was carried out remotely in the laboratory of Dr. Enrique Morett, at the UNAM Institute of Biotechnology.

Israel Aguilar, Master of Science and first author of the aforementioned article, who supervised the undergraduate theses of the other co-authors, pointed out the importance of opening access to these data, because currently only 3.6 percent is publicly accessible to the public. scientific community.

“History of genomic sequencing in Native Americans, and other technologies” is the result of a project between BUAP, UNAM and the National Institute of Genomic Medicine, whose importance lies, among other aspects, in the fact that native populations from our continent are underrepresented in global genomic archives, although it is a growing field.

“The work that we just published in diversity summarizes 56 scientific publications where the DNA of ancient and contemporary Native American individuals was analyzed. There are thousands of individuals studied with genomic technology, but we found that few data are accessible to the scientific community. Our work allows us to take up the data from ancient genomes for future projects that seek to complete the history of the peopling of America”.

The 21st century, that of the practical applications of Quantum Mechanics

In Physics, this year’s Nobel Prize was awarded to Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger, mainly for showing that physical reality in Quantum Mechanics is non-local, and that the quantum correlation generated in entangled states is a resource physical for different tasks, such as quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography and quantum computing.

From the Quantum and Nonlinear Optics Academic Body, the Ph.D. in Physics, Luis Manuel Arévalo Aguilar, from the Faculty of Physical-Mathematical Sciences, has worked on this line of research, with results that have given rise to publications in indexed journals, projects and training From Human Resources. In his opinion, the importance of these scientists “is to have demonstrated the existence of the so-called entangled states and Violations of Bell’s Inequalities, as a physical resource to perform non-classical tasks, which give rise to what is now known as quantum technologies.

The intertwined states – entangled, as he prefers to call them – refer to the fact that if there are two systems that interacted, when they separate they share an intertwined state, in such a way that if it is measured in one of these systems, the other automatically senses it, even though they are light years apart. “It is a type of correlation that allows non-classical tasks to be carried out: quantum computing makes it possible to process information in parallel, without precedent, instantly.”

Another important aspect is quantum teleportation; that is, the state of one system is carried over to another system, which is only feasible with entangled states.

Likewise, another resource provided by these states is information: “Current cryptography is based on unproven mathematical conjectures, so the information sent could be decrypted. However, with quantum cryptography it is possible to send information in a safe and secure way.”

The work carried out by the 2022 Nobel laureates in Physics, he commented, is based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics, which establishes that two physical variables, which have a certain mathematical structure, cannot be known at the same time.

“Einstein devised an experiment that strongly challenged this principle using entangled states; from here arose the interest in studying the properties of these states”.

Dr. Luis Manuel Arévalo has proposed a new Uncertainty Principle, named “Disturbance, Disturbance”. Also, he has shown John Clauser’s Inequalities Violations, known as CHSH inequalities, for systems of particles with mass that possess an entangled state. Both results have been published in high-impact specialized international journals of the family Nature. He is currently working in the area of ​​quantum cryptography, using continuous states.

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BUAP researchers give their opinion on Nobel Prizes 2022 in Medicine, Chemistry and Physics