Harvard Ph.D. Thomas A. Steitz Shares Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Three scientists, including a 1966 Harvard Ph.D., are recognized for fundamental work on the ribosome.

Thomas A. Steitz, Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, and Ada E. Yonath, Kimmel professor of structural biology and director of the Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, both at Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. (Sterling professorships are Yale's equivalent of Harvard's University Professorships, conferred on scholars and researchers whose work is especially distinguished and far-reaching). Steitz earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry in 1967 from Harvard; he is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

The three scientists were recognized for "studies of one of life's core processes: the ribosome's translation of DNA information into life. Ribosomes produce proteins, which in turn control the chemistry in all living organisms. As ribosomes are crucial to life, they are also a major target for new antibiotics," according to the Nobel press release. Steitz's work is described at  his Yale faculty home page and his laboratory website.

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