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Nobel laureate named to Royal Society

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2011 - Autumn


Thomas Steitz, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and a winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009, was one of 52 scientists named in May as fellows or foreign members of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national academy of science.

Steitz, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, was one of eight foreign scientists to be honored by the society, which has counted Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin among its members. Steitz was selected “for his pioneering contributions to the mechanisms involved in the processes of gene replication, transcription, control, and translation that are fundamental to all life.”

Steitz, colleague Peter Moore, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Chemistry and professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and others at Yale were instrumental in discovering the structure of the ribosome, the cell’s protein-making factory necessary for life. The work has led to creation of a new generation of antibiotics now in clinical trials. Scientists in England and Israel shared in the Nobel Prize for their research on the ribosome.

Founded in 1660, the Royal Society has three roles: as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned society and as a funding agency. Its membership includes renowned scientists from the United Kingdom and beyond.

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