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Leemor Joshua-Tor, PhD, CSHL biologist and WSBS dean, is named an HHMI Investigator
Date:5/26/2008

Leemor Joshua-Tor, Ph.D., a CSHL professor and Dean of the Watson School of Biological Sciences, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator.

Dr. Joshua-Tor, a structural biologist whose work is known and respected worldwide, is one of 56 new HHMI Investigators selected from among 1,070 applicants. They join approximately 300 Investigators in the Institutes flagship program, who lead Hughes laboratories at 64 institutions. At CSHL, HHMI Investigators include Gregory J. Hannon, Ph.D., and Scott Lowe, Ph.D.

Dr. Joshua-Tor is an outstanding researcher who, along with our other new Investigators, is poised to advance scientific knowledge dramatically in the coming years, said HHMI president and Nobel laureate Thomas R. Cech, Ph.D.

I speak for the entire faculty of CSHL in congratulating Leemor on this honor, which is richly deserved, said Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., CSHLs president. She has made significant discoveries in a number of areas and we have good reason to believe there are many more successes to come.

The Discovery of Slicer

Dr. Joshua-Tor has repeatedly demonstrated her productivity as a researcher. She is perhaps best known for her work in revealing structures involved in the gene-silencing mechanisms of RNA interference (RNAi). In 2004, she and a graduate student, Ji-Soon Song, used x-ray crystallography to identify an enigmatic protein called Slicer at the heart of the RNAi machinery. The appropriately named enzyme, a member of a family of proteins called Argonaute, acts to cleave messenger-RNAs that have paired with small interfering RNAs, effectively preventing a genes message from being expressed.

After solving for the structure of Argonaute, Dr. Joshua-Tor performed critical experiments with CSHL Professor Gregory Hannon, proving beyond a doubt that Argonaute was the only protein required for Slicer activity, and shedding light on a structural feature of
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Contact: Jim Bono
bono@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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