AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Alan M. Lambowitz at The University of Texas at Austin has received one of the highest honors for an American scientist by being elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy, a private organization established in 1863 by Congress, advises the federal government about matters of science or technology. Lambowitz is among 72 new members who were chosen based on their distinguished continuing achievements in original research.
Lambowitz, the Mr. and Mrs. A. Frank Smith, and Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Regents Chair in Molecular Biology, is known for his research on the molecular biology of a molecule called RNA. He studies fundamental mechanisms involved in gene expression, catalytic RNAs that serve as enzymes and RNA-based genetic elements that may be ancestors of retroviruses.
A professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of molecular genetics and microbiology, Lambowitz is director of the university’s Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology. His research discoveries include identifying a novel way in which elements called group II introns insert themselves into new genomic locations. The nature of the mechanism allows scientists to program an intron’s insertion into any desired DNA target. It has led to the development of a new class of gene-targeting vectors, called “targetrons,” with potentially widespread applications in genetic engineering, functional genomics and gene therapy.
Lambowitz graduated summa cum laude with honors from Brooklyn College in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He received master’s and doctor’s degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.
His academic appointments include serving on the biochemistry faculty at Saint Louis University Medical School for 10 years and being Ohio Eminent Scholar in Molecular Genetics and a professor of molecular genetics, biochemistry and medical biochemistry at The Ohio State University from 1986 until he came to Austin in 1997.
A member of numerous professional societies, Lambowitz serves on the editorial boards of Molecular and Cellular Biology, of RNA, and of Fungal Genetics and Biology. He holds six patents and is an author or co-author of 160 scientific articles.
Lambowitz’s previous honors include receiving a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
For more information contact: Barbra Rodriguez, College of Natural Sciences, 512-232-0675.