News & Views
Aminoff Laureate sheds new Light on Immune System
Sep 27 2023
Professor Hao Wu, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA, has been awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography 2024, from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, for her ground-breaking studies of complex protein structures in the innate immune system.
Consisting of proteins both on the cells’ surface and inside them, the immune system will defend the body by building large protein complexes for the purpose of neutralising attacking organisms such as bacteria, viruses and other hazardous substances.
Professor Wu’s research used protein crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to establish how these protein complexes, as well as their structures form, leading to an entirely new and improved understanding of how the innate immune system functions.
“Professor Wu is a master at identifying important biological issues and solving them using advanced structural and biochemical methods. Her discoveries may be of huge importance in understanding the causes of inflammatory diseases, their progression and treatment,” said Björn Dahlbäck, professor emeritus at Lund University and a member of the Prize Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Professor Wu’s Prize citation was;
“for her discoveries by crystallography of the assembly mechanisms of large oligomeric signaling complexes in innate immunity, a paradigm-shifting concept in signal transduction.”
Born 1964 in Beijing, China, Hao Wu studied medicine at the Peking Union Medical College. She then received her Ph.D. in biochemistry in the US, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1992. She became a professor of biochemistry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, 2003. Since 2012 she has been the Asa and Patricia Springer Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children´s Hospital, Massachusetts, USA.
The Gregori Aminoff Prize, awarded annually for individual contributions to the field of crystallography, has been awarded to Swedish and foreign researchers since 1979. The prize money is 80,000 Swedish kronor.
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