Sir Aaron Klug

Prof. Dr. Sir Aaron Klug

Nationality
Lithuania 
Institution
Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Award
1982 
Discipline
Chemistry 
Co-recipients
 

Biography on the Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize

CURRICULUM VITAE

Aaron Klug was educated at Durban High School and the Universities of Witwatersrand , Cape Town and Cambridge. He began as a medical student, transferred to science, and his PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory was in Physics. From 1954 he worked with Rosalind Franklin at Birbeck College, London, on the structure of tobacco mosaic virus. In 1962, he joined the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, became Joint Head of the Structural studies Division in 1978 and was the Director of the Laboratory from 1986 to 1996. He now continues as a member of staff, leading a research group on gene expression. He was President of the Royal Society, is a member of the Order of Merit, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Gesellschaft, the Japan Academy, and has received many honorary degrees.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse and of Trinity College, Cambridge. His work has been on the interactions of proteins with nucleic acids and on the elucidation of the structures of large biological molecules and assemblies, including simle viruses and chromatin, by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, and the development of new methods for their study. The principle of this method of 3-D image reconstruction in electron microscopy from a series of 2-D titled images later formed the basis of the X-ray CT scanner. In 1982 he was awarded the undivided Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The citation reads “for the development of crystallographic electron microscopy and the structural elucidation of protein-nucleic acid complexes of biological importance”

His current research is on the structure of DNA and RNA binding proteins which regulate gene expression and in particular on the interaction with DNA of the zinc finger family of transcription factors which he discovered in 1985. in 1994 he showed that a synthetic zinc finger protein could be used to block the expression of an oncogene in a mouse cell line and also to activate gene expression in another system. More generally by fusing sequence-specific zinc finger peptides to various effector or functional domains, chimeric proteins can be engineered to target virtually any gene in a complex genome and manipulate or modify it. Aaron Klug has also considerable experience of other branches of biotechnology. He is on the Scientific Advisory Boards of several companies, including Cambridge Antibody Technology which was spun-off from the MRC when he was Director, to produce fully human therapeutic antibodies, some of which are now in clinical use. He also set in train the creation of the Sanger Centre in Cambridge which was responsible for sequencing one third of the human genome.

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Sir Aaron Klug

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