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Richard Henderson to give Max Birnstiel Lecture

01 Mar 2022

The cryo-electron microscopy pioneer and Nobel laureate Richard Henderson of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK) will give a Birnstiel Lecture on 14 March 2022. The lecture will be the keynote to a symposium that marks the installation of a Krios G4 electron microscope.

After two years with no Birnstiel Lectures, the IMP is happy to welcome Nobel laureate Richard Henderson – whose Birnstiel Lecture was cancelled in April 2020 due to the pandemic. Richard Henderson pioneered in the development of cryo-electron microscopy and remains active with a research group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. His lecture will be the keynote to a symposium to mark the installation of a Krios G4 electron microscopy, generously funded by Boehringer Ingelheim for joint use with the IMP.

Richard Henderson will give his talk “The electron cryo-microscopy revolution in structural biology” at the IMP Lecture Hall at 9:50 am on 14 March 2022. The lecture will be streamed via Zoom and recorded to be made available later.

The Royal Society summarises Henderson’s research interests as such: “Richard Henderson […] is distinguished for his contributions to protein crystallography […]. Richard was the first to solve the structure of a protein found in the membrane of a cell. Using X-rays to analyse bacteriorhodopsin, a light-harvesting protein found in tiny microbes, Richard discovered that it was composed of helices. Then, in collaboration with neuroscientist Nigel Urwin, he uncovered the three-dimensional arrangement of the helices within the bacterial membrane by electron microscopy — pioneering the powerful technique’s use to study biological molecules. He also studied the digestive enzyme chymotrypsin, contributing to our understanding of its mode of action.

Richard Henderson studied physics in Edinburgh and pursued his doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, followed by postdoctoral research at Yale (Connecticut, US). He works at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge since 1973 and was its Director from 1996–2006. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2017), Henderson received numerous other awards and honours. Among many others, he is an elected fellow of the Royal Society (1983) and foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1998). He was presented with the Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research (1991), and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (2016).

About the Birnstiel Lectures

The Birnstiel Lectures are the IMP’s prime seminar series, named after the late founding director of the institute. Five to six scientists - all distinguished leaders in their fields - are invited every year to deliver one of these outstanding lectures that are open to the public and invariably draw a large audience to the IMP.

View upcoming Max Birnstiel Lectures

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