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2000 Future Investigator Award winners announced

Molecular Structure Corporation proudly announces the recipients of the first annual MSC Future Investigator Awards. These awards are designed to reward outstanding and promising researchers early in their careers. The inaugural MSC Future Investigators were selected on the basis of their scientific accomplishments in the field of structural biology, their publications, and the expectation that they will contribute to the field of macromolecular crystallography. Each received an unrestricted $2,500 cash award. The four winners are: M.J. Bennett (California Inst. of Technology), J.C. Boyington (LIG/NIAID, National Inst. of Health), P. Cramer (Stanford U. School of Medicine), and C. E. Stebbins (Yale School of Medicine).

[Melanie Bennett] Melanie Bennett.
The work of Melanie Bennett on the hereditary haemochromatosis protein HFE and its complex with transferrin receptor (TfR) may help in our understanding of this iron-overload disorder. Dr. Bennett is a former Fellow of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation.
[J. Boyington] Jeffrey Boyington
Jeffrey Boyington has recently determined the structure of the complex of the immunoglobulin-like natural killer (NK) cell receptor KIR2DL2 with its ligand, the class I MHC protein HLA-Cw3. The cytolytic activity of NK cells is tightly regulated by both activating and inhibitory NK cell receptors. This particular receptor inhibits NK cell-mediated lysis upon recognition of certain class I MHC molecules on the surface of healthy host cells. The KIR/MHC interaction is strikingly different from the interaction observed between T-cell receptors and MHC molecules and reveals a mechanism of allotypic specificity.

Patrick Cramer along with colleagues solved the structure of yeast RNA Polymerase II, the central enzyme of gene expression that synthesizes all messenger RNA in eukaryotes.

C. Erec Stebbins has worked on the ternary complex of the tumor suppressor VHL bound to Elongin B and Elongin C; the complex of Hsp90 with its inhibitor, geldanamycin, an antitumor antibiotic; and the bacterial GreA transcript cleavage factor involved in regulating the processivity of RNA polymerase. Dr. Stebbins is a Fellow of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation. He now studies the structural basis for the modulation of signal transduction pathways by bacterial virulence factors that are translocated into host cells for the benefit of the pathogen.

Textbooks of the future will be updated with the knowledge gleaned from the fundamental research of our winners. It is gratifying to award these creative thinkers with the MSC Future Investigators award to show our appreciation.

For information regarding the 2001 MSC Future Investigator Awards please visit our website at