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Columbia's Horwitz Prize Awarded to Nobel Laureate Roderick Mackinnon


Roderick MacKinnon, a 2003 Nobel Laureate (in chemistry) and professor of molecular neurobiology and biophysics at Rockefeller University , is the recipient of this year's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. MacKinnon was honored for his studies of ion channels, work that sheds light on how salts (ions) are transported in and out of cells. MacKinnon discussed the details and implications of his research at a recent lecture and received his award at ceremonies later that day.

MacKinnon's prize-winning research focuses on the biophysical, structural and functional aspects of ion channels, which control the electrical potential of cell membranes in the natural world. In 1998, MacKinnon was able to map out the spatial structure of a specific kind of ion channel -- a potassium channel -- using X-ray crystallography. This contribution, which was heralded by his peers as a major scientific breakthrough of the 20th century, helped the scientific community gain greater insights into how ions are transmitted, via electrical signals and impulses, through cell membranes -- with major ramifications for the basic biological understanding of many diseases.

Awarded annually since its inception in 1967, Columbia 's Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize is given to recognize exceptional accomplishments in biological and biochemical research.

Published: Mar 05, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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