Yale’s Joan Steitz elected to U.K.’s Royal Society

Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and investigator for Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was one of 60 scientists elected to the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national academy of science.

Joan Steitz

Steitz was recognized by the society for her pioneering studies of how messenger RNAs are fashioned in order to make proteins from the instructions contained in DNA, a process crucial to all life. With her graduate student, Michael Lerner, she discovered the building blocks of spliceosomes, which assemble the messenger RNAs that deliver instructions for production of proteins. She has also illustrated key roles played by small RNAs in modifying the activities of other cellular RNAs.

Her insights have been applied to numerous research areas, including cancer and autoimmune and infectious diseases. Steitz was one of 10 foreign members elected to the society’s 2014 class. She joins her husband, Nobel laureate Thomas Steitz of Yale, who was  elected as a member of the society in 2011.

Founded in 1660, the Royal Society has three roles: as a provider of independent scientific advice, as a learned society, and as a funding agency. Its membership includes renowned scientists from the United Kingdom and beyond.

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