Lehn, Jean-Marie

Lehn, Jean-Marie zhäNˈ-märēˈ lĕN [key], 1939–, French chemist, Ph.D. Univ. of Strasbourg, 1963. A professor at Louis Pasteur Univ. (1970–78) and the Collège de France (1979–), Lehn did ground-breaking research in the creation of artificial enzymes. Expanding on the work of Charles J. Pedersen, Lehn synthesized a three-dimensional molecule that combined with a neurotransmitter in the brain, opening the possibility of creating artificial enzymes that function better than natural enzymes. He shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Pedersen and Donald J. Cram for the development and application of molecules with highly selective, structure specific interactions, i.e., molecules that can “recognize” each other and choose which other molecules they will form complexes with.

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