Steitz, Thomas Arthur

Steitz, Thomas Arthur,

1940–2018, American biophysicist and biochemist, b. Milwaukee, Ph.D. Harvard, 1966. Steitz was a professor at Yale from 1970 and a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1986, holding both posts until his death. He was a co-recipient with Venkatraman RamakrishnanRamakrishnan, Venkatraman,
1952–, American molecular biologist, b. India, Ph.D. Ohio Univ., 1976. He was a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1982–83) and at Brookhaven National Laboratory (1983–95) and a professor at the Univ. of Utah (1995–99).
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 and Ada YonathYonath, Ada E.,
1939–, Israeli crystallographer, Ph.D. Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovat, Israel, 1968. Yonath has been a researcher and professor at the Weizmann Institute since 1970.
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 of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their studies demonstrating the structure and function of the ribosome, a large and complex cell molecule that translates the information encoded in DNA into protein sequences (see cellcell,
in biology, the unit of structure and function of which all plants and animals are composed. The cell is the smallest unit in the living organism that is capable of integrating the essential life processes. There are many unicellular organisms, e.g.
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, in biology; nucleic acidnucleic acid,
any of a group of organic substances found in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that play a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis.
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). The researchers, working independently, used X-ray crystallographyX-ray crystallography,
the study of crystal structures through X-ray diffraction techniques. When an X-ray beam bombards a crystalline lattice in a given orientation, the beam is scattered in a definite manner characterized by the atomic structure of the lattice.
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 to map the position of each of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome, and they developed three-dimensional models showing how various antibiotics bind to the ribosome. Their work made fundamental contributions to the scientific understanding of life and to the development of antibioticsantibiotic,
any of a variety of substances, usually obtained from microorganisms, that inhibit the growth of or destroy certain other microorganisms. Types of Antibiotics
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, many of which work by interfering with the functioning of bacterial ribosomes.
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