NSF PR 00-19 - April 10, 2000
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NSF Honors Yale Biochemist Jennifer Doudna with the
Alan T. Waterman Award
National Science Foundation (NSF) has chosen a Yale
University professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry
to receive its most prestigious prize for young researchers.
Jennifer A. Doudna will be honored with the 2000 Alan
T. Waterman Award at a National Science Board awards
ceremony on May 3 in Washington, D.C. She is only
the third woman to be so honored, and is the 25th
recipient of the award since its inception in 1976.
Doudna's leading work in structural biology provided
an answer to how RNA can act like an enzyme to catalyze
specific biochemical reactions, and how polyanionic
RNA forms a three-dimensional structure.
"There can be no question that her pioneering accomplishments
have changed the way the scientific community thinks
about RNA molecules," says Joan Steitz, professor
of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University.
"Such exceptional achievements are precisely what
the Waterman Award was created to recognize."
According to University of California at Berkeley
professor of chemistry Ignacio Tinoco, Doudna's analysis
has inaugurated a new era in RNA structure and function.
Doudna earned a B.A. in chemistry from Pomona College
in Claremont, California, in 1985, and a Ph.D. in
biochemistry from Harvard University in 1989.
Her previous honors include the Johnson Foundation
Prize for Innovative Research (1996), the Beckman
Young Investigator Award (1996), the David and Lucille
Packard Foundation Fellow Award (1996), the Lucille
P. Markey Scholar Award in Biomedical Science (1991),
and the National Research Service Award in Biomedical
The Alan T. Waterman Award, named after the NSF's
first director, honors an outstanding young U.S. scientist
who is at the forefront of science or engineering.
The recipient receives a medal as well as a $500,000
grant over three years for scientific research or
advanced study in any field of science or engineering.
See also: Fact
Sheet on Waterman Award
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