16 Oct

Honorary Doctorate for Thomas Cech

A particular highlight is coming up next week: Prof Thomas Cech will be awarded a honorary doctorate by the University of Regensburg. Tom Cech, now Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the BioFrontiers Institute, was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1989 jointly with Sidney Altman for the discovery of the catalytic activity of RNA. His revolutionary discovery of self-splicing in Tetrahymena thermophila radically changed the way we were thinking about RNA – what was previously considered a mere carrier of genetic information turned out to play the key function in fundamental biological processes. Exemplarily, protein synthesis is catalyzed by the RNA moiety of the large ribosomal subunit which promotes the peptidyl transfer reaction by which peptide bonds are formed between amino acids. His discovery also had a huge impact on my own scientific career and convinced me that RNA is the most interesting biomolecule to study. I am very much looking forward to the Symposium on Monday, October 22nd (starting 3:30p.m. in lecture hall H51) and to finally get the opportunity to meet Tom Cech in person!

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