February 23, 2016
In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX/30th) recognized Turkish American scientist Dr. Aziz Sancar for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Congresswoman Johnson is a member of the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkey Relations & Turkish Americans. The transcript of her speech is available below.
HON. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the tremendous accomplishment of Dr. Aziz Sancar for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He and his team have been working for decades to understand human DNA more thoroughly, and have recently made a breakthrough in mapping DNA repair.
Originally from Turkey, Dr. Sancar earned his Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1977. It was during his time at UT-Dallas that Dr. Sancar successfully purified and described a bacterial enzyme called photolyase. This discovery was integral to his work that won him the Nobel Prize. Dr. Sancar was granted the status as a distinguished alumnus of UT-Dallas in 2009. His Nobel Prize is the icing atop the cake of his everlasting contribution to UT-Dallas and its doctoral program in molecular and cell biology. He is the first alumnus to win a Nobel Prize.
Dr. Sancar is the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He has been there since 1982. The work he has done at his lab on mapping the cellular mechanisms that underlie DNA repair, which occurs every single minute of the day in response to damage caused by outside forces, such as ultraviolet radiation and other environmental factors, is the reason he won the Nobel Prize. In particular, Sancar mapped nucleotide excision repair, which is vital to DNA subjected to UV damage. His work will create a better system of identifying how cancer drugs target cancer cells, and will improve treatment.
Mr. Speaker, as a Member of the U.S. Turkish Congressional Caucus, I want to express how much I value Turkish Americans' scientific, political, athletic and artistic contributions to America's rich mosaic. I congratulate Dr. Sancar for his hard work in mapping DNA repair, potential for advancements in cancer treatment, and pride he has brought UT-Dallas and the greater Dallas community in winning the Nobel Prize. And therefore, I want to formally recognize the brilliant Dr. Aziz Sancar in the U.S. House of Representatives.