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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Fri, 08 Oct 93 09:48:26 EST] All documents are the responsibility of their originator.