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April 9, 2001


Harry Noller

Harry Noller, Sinsheimer Professor of Molecular Biology, has been awarded the 2001 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research. Noller, who is director of the Center for Molecular Biology of RNA, will share the award with two other scientists. He will receive a medallion and share a $10,000 prize with his co-recipients, Peter Moore and Thomas Steitz of Yale University. The medals will be presented on April 26 at Brandeis University.

The researchers are being honored "for their discovery that peptide bond formation on the ribosome is catalyzed exclusively by ribosomal RNA." Ribosomes are the protein factories of all living cells, reading the genetic code and translating it into specific protein structures. One of the most striking features of ribosomes is that the components that carry out protein synthesis are made of RNA, a type of molecule similar in structure to DNA. In contrast, the enzymes that catalyze most of the chemical reactions necessary for life are proteins.

The central role of RNA in the function of the ribosome is an idea long championed by Noller and others, but only recently confirmed by a series of landmark studies by Noller's group at UCSC and by other researchers, including Moore and Steitz. Just last month, Noller's research group published the highest resolution images yet obtained of the complete ribosome (see Currents story, 4-2-01). Understanding how the ribosome works has practical significance because many antibiotics work by disrupting bacterial ribosomes.

The Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research was established in 1971 as an expression of the conviction that educational institutions have an important role to play in the encouragement and development of basic science as it applies to medicine. The awards are made on the basis of recommendations of a panel of outstanding scientists selected by the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. Awards are given to scientists for recent discoveries of particular originality and importance to basic medical research.

Tandy Beal

Theater arts lecturer Tandy Beal has been given the Honorary Alumni Award for the Fine Arts Department at the University of Utah. The award recognizes her work at the university and the national level; it is given to only one person in the fine arts each year. In addition, Beal has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project aimed at increasing multigenerational art experiences in the Santa Cruz community.

Mark Franko

Mark Franko has received an ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Fellowship for 2001-02 to pursue his research and publication on radical modern dance in the 20th century.

Chip Lord

Chip Lord's short film, El Livahpla: Waking Dream played the San Jose
Cinequest Film Festival and the Dallas Video Festival in March and has
been selected to the Atlanta Film & Video Festival, where it will play in
June. Lord is a professor in the Department of Film and Digital Media.

Thomas Pettigrew

Thomas Pettigrew, research professor of social psychology, will be on the lecture circuit this spring. Later this month, he will give an invited plenary address on intergroup contact theory and research to the International Academy of Intercultural Research at its annual meeting at the University of Mississippi. He will present a related colloquium later in April at the University of Colorado. In May, Pettigrew will present a paper on relative deprivation and prejudice at the joint American/European Conference on Intergroup Relations in Grenada, Spain.

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