Thomas Cech

Thomas Cech

Infobox Scientist
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birth_date = December 8, 1947
birth_place = Chicago
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alma_mater = Grinnell College BA, University of California, BerkeleyPh.D.
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prizes = Nobel Prize in Chemistry
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Thomas Robert Cech (December 8, 1947 in Chicago) is a Nobel Laureate in chemistry.

He grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. In 1966, he entered Grinnell College where he obtained a B.A. in 1970. In 1975, Cech completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and in the same year, he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he engaged in postdoctoral research. In 1978, he obtained his first faculty position at the University of Colorado where he lectured undergraduate students in chemistry and biochemistry, and where he remains on the faculty, currently as Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2000, Dr. Cech succeeded Purnell Choppin as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland. He also continues to head his world-renowned biochemistry laboratory in the University of Colorado, Boulder. On April 1, 2008, Dr Cech announced that he will step down as the president of HHMI, to return to teaching and research, in spring 2009. [ [ HHMI News: Thomas R. Cech to Step Down as HHMI President ] ]

In December 2006 it was reported that he was among the candidates being considered for the presidency of Harvard University.cite web|url=|title=List of candidates to lead Harvard is rich with top scientists|last=Bombardieri |first=Marcella |coauthors=Sacchetti, Maria|date=2006-12-08|publisher=The Boston Globe|accessdate=2008-06-16]

Research areas

Thomas Cech's main research area is that of the process of transcription in the nucleus of cells. He studies how the genetic code of DNA is transcribed into RNA. In the 1970s, Dr. Cech had been studying the splicing of RNA in the unicellular organism Tetrahymena thermophila when he discovered that an unprocessed RNA molecule could splice itself. In 1982, Dr. Cech became the first to show that RNA molecules are not restricted to being passive carriers of genetic information - they can have catalytic functions and can participate in cellular reactions. RNA-processing reactions and protein synthesis on ribosomes in particular are catalysed by RNA. RNA enzymes are known as ribozymes and have provided a new tool for gene technology. They also have the potential to provide new therapeutic agents - for example, they have the ability to destroy and cleave invading, viral RNAs.

Thomas Cech has a second, very different area of research - that of the structure and function of telomeres, the natural ends of linear chromosomes. He and his research group focus on the assembly, structure and function of telomerase, the enzyme that copies the telomeric sequences. The active site protein subunits of telomerase comprise a new class of reverse transcriptases, enzymes previously thought to be restricted to viruses and transposable elements. Telomerase is an important enzyme in biomedical terms due to the fact that it is activated in 90% of human cancers. Therefore, a drug that would inhibit its activity is much sought after as a cancer chemotherapeutic.


Dr. Cech's work has been recognised by many awards and prizes including: lifetime Professorship by the American Cancer Society (1987),the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University(1988), the Heineken Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (1988), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1988), the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1989, shared with Sidney Altman) and the National Medal of Science (1995). In 1987, Dr. Cech was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences and in 1988 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

External links

* [ Chemical and Engineering News]
* [ Nobel article]
* [ Nobel autobiography]
* [ HHMI profile]
* [ HHMI bio]
* [ HHMI Investigators bio]
* [ The Official Site of Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize]


NAME= Cech, Thomas
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Nobel Laureate in chemistry
DATE OF BIRTH=December 8, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH=Chicago, United States

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thomas Cech — Thomas Robert Cech Thomas Robert Cech Thomas Robert Cech, né le 8 décembre 1947 à Chicago, est un chimiste américain. En 1989, il obtint conjointement avec Sidney Altman le prix Nobel de chimie pour la découverte des propriétés catalytiques de l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas R. Cech — Thomas Robert Cech Thomas Robert Cech Thomas Robert Cech, né le 8 décembre 1947 à Chicago, est un chimiste américain. En 1989, il obtint conjointement avec Sidney Altman le prix Nobel de chimie pour la découverte des propriétés catalytiques de l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas Robert Cech — (8 décembre 1947 à Chicago) est un chimiste américain. Il est colauréat avec Sidney Altman du prix Nobel de chimie de 1989 pour « la découverte des propriétés catalytiques de l ARN[ …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas R. Cech — Thomas R. Cech. Thomas Robert Cech (Chicago, EUA 1947) es un químico, bioquímico y profesor universitario estadounidense galardonado con el Premio Nobel de Química del año 1989. Biografía Cuando era pequeño su familia se trasladó a la ciudad de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Thomas — Thomas, Albert Thomas, André Antoine Thomas, Ch. L. Ambroise Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Sidney Gilchrist Thomas, Theodore * * * (as used in expressions) Adès, Thomas …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Čech — For the ethic group, see Czechs. Čech is a surname that means Czech was used to distinguish an inhabitant of Bohemia, from Slovaks, Moravians and other ethnic groups.[1] List of people with surname Čech, Cech or Czech Donovan Cech (born 1974),… …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas — /tom euhs/ for 1, 2, 4 14; /taw mah / for 3, n. 1. an apostle who demanded proof of Christ s Resurrection. John 20:24 29. 2. Augustus, 1857 1934, U.S. playwright, journalist, and actor. 3. (Charles Louis) Ambroise /shannrddl lwee ahonn brddwannz… …   Universalium

  • Thomas R. Cech — Thomas „Tom“ Robert Cech (* 8. Dezember 1947 in Chicago, USA) ist ein US amerikanischer Chemiker. Er erhielt 1989 zusammen mit Sidney Altman den Nobelpreis für Chemie für seine Arbeiten über selbst spleißende RNA. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Čech (Begriffsklärung) — Čech bzw. Tschech bezeichnet: den sagenhaften Urvater der Tschechen, siehe Čech eine Gemeinde im Okres Přerov, Tschechien, siehe Čechy u Přerova Čech, Cech oder Tschech ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Eduard Čech (1893–1960),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cech — ist der Familienname von: John Cech (* 1944), amerikanischer Literaturwissenschaftler Thomas R. Cech (* 1947), amerikanischer Nobelpreisträger für Chemie Für Čech siehe auch: Čech, den sagenhaften Urvater der Tschechen Čech (Begriffsklärung), für …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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