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courtesy Markus Maracetic

Elena Conti and Patrick Cramer win 2022 Aminoff Prize

At a memorable ceremony at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Vallee Visiting Professors Elena Conti and Patrick Cramer, along with Seth Darst of Rockefeller University, received the 2022 Aminoff Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for their work on cellular systems for the production, transport and quality control of RNA.

Transcription occurs when selected parts of the genome’s DNA are copied, forming RNA. Complicated enzymes -- called RNA polymerases -- are responsible for this. The transcription of DNA, transferring its information to RNA, is a vital process in all living organisms.

Elena Conti (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried) has studied how RNA is transported and transformed from inactive to active molecules, and how, finally, they are broken down when they are no longer needed. She has focused on the exosome, which performs several of these tasks. Her results have been highly influential and encouraged many other researchers to try new approaches.

Patrick Cramer (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen) has expanded our knowledge of how DNA is transcribed. In addition to his contributions to uncovering the crystal structure of RNA polymerase II, he has shown how other proteins (transcription factors) and the RNA polymerases select which parts of the genome will be transcribed.

The Gregori Aminoff Prize is intended to reward a documented, individual contribution in the field of crystallography, including areas concerned with the dynamics of the formation and dissolution of crystal structures. Some preference should be shown for work evincing elegance in the approach to the problem.


(Photo courtesy Markus Marcetic)