On October 7, 2015, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2015 was awarded to three deserving scientists for their pioneering research on DNA repair. Tomas Lindahl was recognized for studies that uncovered the inherent instability of DNA as well as the mechanism of the base excision repair pathway, Paul Modrich for characterization of the mismatch repair pathway, and Aziz Sancar for mechanistic elucidation of the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. For me, the announcement of these awards in my area of research was extremely gratifying, particularly so because Aziz was my mentor during my Ph.D. studies that examined the steps of prokaryotic NER. Memorably, I trained in the Sancar labor- atory at a time where groundbreaking discoveries were being made in the burgeoning field of DNA repair, and can personally attest to his dedication and keen intellect. The text below primarily addresses Aziz’s critical contributions towards our understanding of NER processes in E. coli during the early years of study on this pathway. Other researchers have made important contributions in this area that may not be specified or cited here due to emphasis and space constraints of this article.

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Published in Science China Life Sciences, v. 59, no. 1, p. 97-102.

© The Author(s) 2015.

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