Jane Richardson Receives Prestigious National Academy of Sciences Biophysics Award

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Jane Richardson award announcement image

Jane S. Richardson, Professor of Biochemistry and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine, received the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics from the National Academy of Sciences at its 156th annual meeting April 27-30, 2019 in Washington DC.

The award, which is offered every three years and comes with a $20,000 prize, was given to Richardson for her pioneering work into the understanding of protein structures. She was one of 18 scientists honored at the event. Read the academy’s full news release.

Richardson recently celebrated 50 years at Duke and has made countless contributions to increasing understanding of biological macromolecular structures. She has participated in the discovery of multiple biologically important structures, including Staphylococcal nuclease, an enzyme that cleaves DNA and RNA, superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that protects all living things against the toxicity of oxygen, and the Greek Key fold, a crisscrossing of beta strands found in proteins that helped scientists to understand that pattern similarities among proteins can be due to folding preferences. She is perhaps best known for her creation of ribbon diagrams—the ‘language’ used to illustrate protein structures, and more recently the MolProbity system for improving structure accuracy.

“I feel enormously pleased, honored and empowered by the Hollaender award,” said Richardson. “Biophysics is indeed how I think of my research, and my first national meetings and many since were the Biophysical Society. Our lab has changed focus often, but always toward better understanding of the 3D structures of macromolecules.”

Read more about Jane Richardson.