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Nobel laureate dies in PH hospital

Nobel laureate Richard Heck, whose work led to breakthroughs in drug development and DNA sequencing, died on Friday in Manila, the Delaware Online new site reported over the weekend.

The report said Heck’s death was announced on Saturday by the University of Delaware where the American chemist worked for 18 years and later became professor emeritus.

Heck, 84, won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2010 along with Japanese Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for inventing groundbreaking ways to bind carbon atoms used in research to fight cancer.


“I had the opportunity to speak to professor Heck after he received the Nobel Prize and he spoke of how much he enjoyed his time in Delaware,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

“I am sorry to hear of his passing but feel fortunate for his time in our state and the impact he had in both the realm of science and in the personal connections he made with those fortunate enough to have known him.”

Heck’s discovery enabled the production of new classes of pharmaceuticals for treating cancer, HIV, asthma, migraine headaches and stomach ailments, among other maladies.

The Heck Reaction also revolutionized DNA sequencing by making it possible to couple organic dyes to DNA bases—a process essential to the Human Genome Project, an international scientific research to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs that make up human DNA.

Heck retired in the Philippines in 2006 with his Filipina wife Socorro, who died two years after he won the Nobel prize.

Topics: richard heck
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