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Modrich, Paul Lawrence

Modrich, Paul Lawrence, 1946–, American biochemist and molecular geneticist, b. Raton, N.M., Ph.D. Stanford Univ., 1973. Modrich joined the faculty at the Duke Univ. School of Medicine in 1976, and he has been a Howard Hughes Investigator since 1994. He shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Aziz Sancar and Tomas Lindahl for clarifying the biochemical mechanisms involved in three types of DNA repair, discoveries that laid the foundation for targeted cancer therapies that leave healthy cells unharmed. Modrich's contribution was in mismatch repair, which occurs when mistakes occur during DNA replication. He discovered that this type of error is corrected by a natural process that removes a piece of the mutant strand and replaces it with a new section. Modrich initially identified this form of repair in Escherichia coli and later found it in humans, where its inactivation can lead to cancer.

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