11 Sep 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Dr Joan A Steitz, a pioneer in the field of RNA biology, will be awarded the 2012 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize by the Rockefeller University. The prize, which since 2004 honors female scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to biomedical science and carries an honorarium of $100,000, will be presented at a ceremony on Thursday, November 29, 2012, at Rockefeller University's Caspary Auditorium.
The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize was established by Dr Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor professor at Rockefeller University and head, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Dr Greengard donated the proceeds of his 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Rockefeller University and, in partnership with generous supporters of the university, created the annual award named in memory of Greengard's mother, who died giving birth to him.
Dr Greengard said that, "Joan Steitz, in addition to being a leader in the field of RNA biology, has been a role model for young women seeking careers in biomedical research. Her success, in the face of gender discrimination early in her career, exemplifies the spirit of the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize."
Dr Steitz said that, "Any recognition that calls attention to women's accomplishments in science is important for the future participation of women. I am deeply honored to be a recipient of the Greengard Prize."
Dr Steitz is Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is best known for discovering and defining the function of RNA-protein complexes called small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which occur only in the cells of higher organisms. These cellular complexes play a key role in the splicing of pre-messenger RNA.