• RNA Structural Studies receive Global Recognition
    Seth Darst
  • Patrick Cramer
  • Elena Conti

News & Views

RNA Structural Studies receive Global Recognition

Oct 18 2021

This year’s Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography has been awarded to researchers Elena Conti and Patrick Cramer in Germany and Seth Darst in the US, for their investigations of cellular systems supporting RNA development, a macromolecule which reads and interprets the information in the genome of all living organisms.
For cells to develop into different types, selected parts of the genomes DNA are copied to form RNA; complicated enzymes, RNA polymerases, are responsible for this transcription process .

Seth Darst, a professor at Rockefeller University, New York, USA and Patrick Cramer, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, were acknowledged for their work generating RNA polymerases’ appearance and structure, investigating how these enzymes work and can be controlled. Elena Conti, a professor at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany, was awarded for her studies on controlling the quality of the created RNA molecules, which ensures that they function optimally and are found in the right locations of the cells.

The award panel commented that the research conducted by these three scientists, had made decisive contributions to improving our understanding of how the transfer of information from DNA to RNA works, as well as how the continued life of RNA molecules is governed. This basic research, would be of great benefit for our understanding of disease processes and for the development of new treatments, such as for COVID-19.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography every year. Crystallography, the study of atomic structures in solid materials, is used in chemistry, biology, medicine, geology and materials science.

The Prize recognises a documented individual contribution to the field of crystallography. It has been awarded to Swedish and foreign researchers since 1979. The prize money is 80,000 Swedish kronor.

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