Thomas Steitz, PhD

Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Chemistry; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Departments & Organizations

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Center for RNA Science and Medicine

Structural Biology

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS)

Global Health Studies

Office of Cooperative Research


Prof. Thomas Steitz received a B.A. degree in chemistry from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from Harvard, with William Lipscomb. After a postdoctoral year at Harvard, he moved to the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, to work as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow with David Blow. He next joined the Yale faculty, where he remained, except for sabbatical work with Klaus Weber in Göttingen, Germany; Aaron Klug at Cambridge; John Abelson at the California Institute of Technology; and Thomas Cech and Olke Uhlenbeck at the University of Colorado. He received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Pfizer Prize from the American Chemical Society, the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for distinguished work in basic medical sciences, the 2001 Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Lawrence University Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award, the 2006 Keio Medical Science Prize, and the 2007 Gairdner International Award. Dr. Steitz was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He had been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Education & Training

PhD Harvard University (1966)
BA Lawrence College (1962)
Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow Cambridge, England
Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard University

Honors & Recognition

  • Nobel Prize in ChemistryThe Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2009)

  • George E. Palade Award (2008)

  • Gairdner International AwardThe Gairdner Foundation (2007)

  • Keio Medical Science PrizeKeio University, Tokyo, Japan (2006)

  • Frank H. Westheimer MedalHarvard University (2004)

  • Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement AwardLawrence University (2002)

  • AAAS Newcomb Cleveland PrizeAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science (2001)

  • Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical SciencesRosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis University (2001)

  • Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and BiochemistryYale University (2001)

  • Honorary D.Sc.Lawrence University (1981)

  • Pfizer Award in Enzyme ChemistryAmerican Chemical Society (ACS) (1980)

Professional Service

  • National Academy of Sciences (1990 - Present) Member

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1990 - Present) Fellow

  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1986 - Present) Researcher

  • Caltech (1984 - 1985)

  • Göttengen, Germany (1976 - 1977) Fellow

  • American Academy of Microbiology Fellow

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