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Judy Hirst awarded 2012 RSC Norman Heatley Award

I am delighted to announce that Judy Hirst has been awarded the 2012 Norman Heatley Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Norman Heatley Award is to recognise and promote the importance of inter- and multi-disciplinary research between chemistry and the life sciences through independent work.

During World War II, Norman Heatley was a member of the team of scientists at Oxford University led by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain who isolated penicillin, determined its chemical structures and demonstrated its clinical use for combatting bacterial infections.

Cambridge Science Festival 2011

Using the three-dimensional structures of the Fo and F1 domains of ATP synthase determined by Professor Sir John Walker and collaborators we constructed an accurate three-dimensional representation of the protein complex in LEGO. The model, consisting of approximately 15,000 LEGO bricks and built to a scale of 50,000,000:1, clearly shows the different functional domains of the complex. Participants were invited to build miniature LEGO models of the ATP synthase and complex I (the structure of which was solved in the laboratory of Dr. Sazanov).

John Walker receives Ahmed Zewail Gold Medal

John Walker has received the Ahmed Zewail Gold Medal from Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. Previous recipients are Roger Kornberg and John Meurig Thomas.

John Walker delivers 2010 Ernest Rutherford Lecture

John Walker delivered The Royal Society’s UK-Canada Ernest Rutherford Lecture in Ottawa at the Royal Society of Canada on 21 October 2010, as part of the 350th anniversary of The Royal Society, to mark the many important contributions from British scientists.

Sazanov group's research on the front cover of Nature

The structures of the membrane domain of respiratory complex I from Escherichia coli, and of the entire complex I from Thermus thermophilus have been determined. Complex I is the first enzyme of the respiratory chain, and the last component of the respiratory chain for which the mechanism and complete structure were unknown. The structures provide strong clues about coupling mechanism: conformational changes at the interface of the two main domains may drive a long α-helix in a piston-like motion, tilting nearby transmembrane helices and resulting in proton translocation.

Cambridge Science Festival 2010

Working together with designers Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl, we explored new ways of representing the molecular world at this year's Science Festival in Cambridge. We invited people to colour a 2.20 x 6 metre mural of a mitochondrial network. Children of all ages and adults engaged in this mitochondrial paint-by-numbers event. The first step was, via a computer test, to find out which colour each visitor preferred.

Ian Holt's research on the front cover of Trends in Genetics

The cover image shows a circle representing the 16.5 kilobases of the human mitochondrial genome, superimposed on a cell fluorescently labelled with antibodies to DNA (red) and a mitochondrial protein (green). Aside from the large nucleus that accounts for 99% of the cell’s DNA, there are numerous clusters of DNA in mitochondria, which appear as small red foci scattered throughout the cytoplasm.

On pages 103–109 of the March issue of Trends in Genetics, Ian Holt discusses the art of mitochondial DNA maintenance.


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