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2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry to Lecture at University of Houston

Houston, TX, January 09, 2010 --( Professor Ada Yonath, the 2009 Laureate in Chemistry, will discuss "The Amazing Ribosome" in a lecture at noon, Jan. 15 in the Rockwell Pavilion of the M.D. Anderson Library on the University of Houston (UH) campus. The event is sponsored by the Texas Learning and Computation Center at UH, the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging at Baylor College of Medicine and the Gulf Coast Consortium.

Ada Yonath, with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz, received the Nobel Prize for "studies of the structure and function of the ribosome." Ribosomes produce proteins that, in turn, control the chemistry of all living organisms. Yonath, Ramakrishnan and Steitz worked with a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for each of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome.

As the Nobel committee noted in announcing Yonath's award, "Inside every cell in all organisms, there are DNA molecules. They contain the blueprints for how a human being, a plant or a bacterium looks and functions." Those passive DNA molecules are transformed into living matter through the work of ribosomes.

"Based upon the information in DNA, ribosomes make proteins: oxygen-transporting hemoglobin, antibodies of the immune system, hormones such as insulin, the collagen of the skin, or enzymes that break down sugar. There are tens of thousands of proteins in the body and they all have different forms and functions. They build and control life at the chemical level," the committee said.

Yonath's work includes the generation of 3-D models demonstrating how various antibiotics bind to the ribosome, blocking the function of various bacteria. Her research opens the door for development of new antibiotics that may ease suffering and save lives.

Yonath is the Martin S. and Helen Kimmel Professor of Structural Biology and director of The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

"The Amazing Ribosome," a lecture by 2009 Nobel Laureate Ada Yonath

Noon, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
Free and open to the public. RSVP is required.
Contact Sarah Sweaney, TLC2 events coordinator at

Rockwell Pavilion, 2nd Floor, M.D. Anderson Library, University of Houston
Public parking is available in the UH Welcome Center Garage


About the University of Houston: The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with 37,000 students.

Contact Information
University of Houston
Melissa Carroll
(cell) 832-489-5844

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