Lambowitz Wins MERIT Award

Published on October 08, 1993

MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST RECEIVES MERIT AWARD, UP TO $3 MILLION

     COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Alan M. Lambowitz, professor of molecular
genetics at The Ohio State University and Ohio Eminent Scholar,
has been awarded the National Institutes of Health's prestigious
MERIT award for outstanding research.  Lambowitz is also
affiliated with Ohio State's departments of biochemistry and
medical biochemistry and Ohio State's Biotechnology Center.

     MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) awards provide
long-term, stable support to investigators whose research has
demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity.
It relieves the investigator of the duty of writing frequent,
lengthy grant applications to continue research funding.  Award
recipients do not apply for MERIT awards, but are nominated by
NIH staff and advisors.

     The award will provide Lambowitz with approximately $300,000
in research funding annually for up ten years.  He and his
colleagues study the mechanism of splicing and origins of introns
-- segments of DNA that are found within genes but do not perform
a coding function.

     "The introns we study are the most primitive," Lambowitz
said.  "By studying them, we hope to learn about gene structure
and function in higher organisms and viruses.  We think the
introns are remnants of virus-like entities that entered the
genetic material at an early stage in evolution."

     The work of Lambowitz and his colleagues focuses on how
introns are removed from genetic material to permit the synthesis
of proteins.  This process, called RNA splicing, is affected in a
number of genetic diseases and plays a key role in the expression
of viruses, such as HIV.

     "These primitive introns can themselves cleave and splice
RNA at specific sites, and because of these properties it may be
possible to develop novel therapeutic agents directed against
viruses and other infectious entities," Lambowitz said.

                                #

Contact:  Alan Lambowitz, (614) 292-5606
Written by Sarah Williams.


[Submitted by: REIDV  (reidv@ccgate.ucomm.ohio-state.edu)
               
Fri, 08 Oct 93 09:48:26 EST]
All documents are the responsibility of their originator.


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