Jeffery Kelly, the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, has been awarded the 2023 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, one of the most prestigious awards in the field. The honor recognizes his research developing therapeutic strategies that amend misfolded proteins that toxically aggregate in the body, a hallmark of many severe diseases affecting both the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as Alzheimer’s.
In its award citation, the Wolf Foundation noted that Kelly has had a significant impact in understanding how proteins fold, misfold and aggregate in toxic quantities in the blood. With these key insights, he and his lab have focused on translating their discoveries into therapies that can help alleviate these conditions. They include the FDA-approved drug tafamidis (Vyndaqel® and Vyndamax®), a treatment that slows the progression of familial amyloid polyneuropathy (a neurodegenerative disease) and familial and sporadic TTR cardiomyopathy disease (a condition that ultimately causes heart failure).
Kelly has won numerous additional awards and honors for his groundbreaking research in protein folding mechanics and multidisciplinary therapeutic strategies. Among them are the 2022 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the 2021 Robert Robinson Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the 2021 Edward E. Smissman Award from the American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry.
This is the second year in a row the Wolf Foundation has honored a Scripps Research chemist: Benjamin Cravatt received the 2022 Wolf Prize in Chemistry. Additionally, four other institute chemists have been honored with the Wolf Prize.