Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has received the 2012 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize of Rockefeller University, which recognizes outstanding achievements of women scientists; and the 2012 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. The latter prize, established by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2006, honors nationally and internationally known women scientists who have “a stellar record of research accomplishments” and who have contributed significantly to the mentorship of other women in science. Prize winners receive a $25,000 honorarium; visit Vanderbilt to meet with faculty and deliver a Discovery Lecture; and serve as mentors to women who are pursuing graduate studies in the biomedical sciences at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Steitz will receive the prize in May.

The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, created by Nobel laureate and Rockefeller professor Paul Greengard, Ph.D., includes a $100,000 honorarium.

Steitz earned her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard in 1967. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in Cambridge, England, she joined the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. Steitz is perhaps best known for discovering and defining the function of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), cellular complexes that play a key role in splicing and processing pre-messenger RNA—the earliest product of DNA transcription.