Note to Editors: Remarkable Advances in Ribosome Studies, Stetten Symposium Focus

2000 Stetten Symposium

by Alisa Zapp Machalek
October 6, 2000

Ribosomes are the cellular factories that make every protein--including enzymes, hormones, and antibodies--in every creature ranging from bacteria to humans. One way to better understand these critical cellular components is by studying their detailed, three-dimensional structure.

For decades, scientists have worked to determine this structure. Now, in the last year-and-a-half, a spate of papers has revealed increasingly detailed images of the structure of bacterial ribosomes.

Three of the leaders in this field will speak at this year's DeWitt Stetten Jr. Symposium, cosponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The symposium, which is entitled "Revealing the Ribosome," is part of the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. It will be held on Wednesday, October 18 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium of the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center (Building 10) on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus.

The names of the symposium speakers and the titles of their talks are below:

Ada E. Yonath, Ph.D.
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
"Decoding the Genetic Information on Ribosomes in Molecular Detail"

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Ph.D.
Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, United Kingdom
"Insights from the Structure of the 30S Ribosomal Subunit"

Peter B. Moore, Ph.D.
Yale University
"The Complete Atomic Structure of the Large Ribosomal Subunit from Haloarcula marismortui"

In addition to providing invaluable insights into a key cellular component, structural studies of ribosomes may lead to clinical applications. Many of today's antibiotics work by interfering with the function of ribosomes in harmful bacteria. A more detailed knowledge of these biological machines may help scientists develop new antibiotic drugs or improve existing ones.

More information about the symposium and ribosome structure studies is available here.

NIGMS sponsors the Stetten Lectures to honor Dr. DeWitt Stetten Jr., who directed the Institute from 1970 to 1974. Dr. Stetten had a strong commitment to basic research, especially in the areas of genetics, cellular and molecular biology, and chemistry. The lecture series is in its 19th year.

NIGMS is regarded as the "basic science institute" of NIH because it focuses its grant support on fundamental, non-disease-targeted investigations in the biomedical sciences. Such basic research contributes new information and concepts that can improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human disease. NIGMS' programs encompass the disciplines of cell biology, structural biology, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, and minority biomedical research and training.

NIGMS has supported the research of each of the speakers since the 1980s.