Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge | Cambridge, MA
For his key discoveries that underlie our understanding of three-dimensional structures and function of RNA and DNA molecules. His work has led to appreciation of the conformational versatility of the nucleic acids and the manner in which nature uses these properties. The breadth and versatility of his contributions routinely influence and guide investigators who study, manipulate and use nucleic acids.
2000 Bower Science Award Theme: Structural Biology
A renowned researcher in the field of structural molecular biology, Alexander Rich's work furthered understanding of the roles of DNA abd RNA in heredity. In 1979, Rich and his team made a shocking discovery: "left-handed" DNA. This screw-shape form was dubbed Z-DNA, and Rich later discovered a biological role in making modifications to genetic material.
This and other groundbreaking work in structural biology earned Rich international honors. Rich is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Philosophical Society, the French Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Rich has received the Rosenteil Award in Basic Biomedical Research, the Presidential Award of the New York Academy of Sciences, and the National Medal of Science.
Information as of 2000