UT Dallas honors Nobel Prize-winning alumnus and his wife

Aziz Sancar won the Nobel Prize for his work in the DNA repair field. | File photo
The University of Texas Dallas recently applauded alumni couple Dr. Aziz Sancar, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Dr. Gwen Sancar, who met while pursuing doctoral degrees in molecular biology at the school in the mid-1970s.
“UT Dallas was the world center for DNA repair research, with at least five scientists working on different aspects,” Aziz, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in the DNA repair field, said. “It was an extremely stimulating intellectual environment…It was the foundation of everything I have done since,” he said. “I started on DNA repair at UT Dallas, and I have continued for over 40 years on that path. The university has had a significant impact on my research.”
Aziz, originally from rural Turkey, moved to the United States while pursuing his a second doctoral degree, having already attended Istanbul Medical School. He and Gwen met while working in UT Dallas’ labs.
“Aziz and I were both very hardworking grad students, and two of the few who tended to work very late in the lab, so we would meet in the evenings over equipment, basically,” Gwen said. “We talked with each other at night because there wasn’t anybody else to talk to while we waited for things to happen with our experiments.”
The Sancars now teach at the University of North Carolina.

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