Thomas A. Steitz
Thomas Arthur Steitz
August 23, 1940
|Died||October 9, 2018 (aged 78)|
Branford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Alma mater||Wauwatosa High School, Lawrence University, Harvard University|
|Spouse(s)||Joan A. Steitz|
|Institutions||Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University|
|Thesis||The 6⁰A crystal structure of carboxypeptidase A (1967)|
|Doctoral advisor||William N. Lipscomb, Jr.|
|Other academic advisors||David M. Blow|
|Notable students||Nenad Ban|
Thomas Arthur Steitz (August 23, 1940 – October 9, 2018) was an American biochemist, a Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, best known for his pioneering work on the ribosome.
Steitz was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Ada Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome". Steitz also won the Gairdner International Award in 2007 "for his studies on the structure and function of the ribosome which showed that the peptidyl transferase was an RNA catalyzed reaction, and for revealing the mechanism of inhibition of this function by antibiotics".
Education and career
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Steitz studied chemistry as an undergraduate at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, graduating in 1962. While there he was a member of the fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, the Delta Nu chapter. In June 2010, the University renamed its chemistry building Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science.
He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University in 1966 where he worked under the direction of subsequent 1976 chemistry Nobel Prize winner William N. Lipscomb, Jr. While at Harvard, after the training task of determining the structure of the small molecule methyl ethylene phosphate, Steitz made contributions to determining the atomic structures of carboxypeptidase A and aspartate carbamoyltransferase, each the largest atomic structure determined in its time.
Steitz was initially offered an assistant professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, but did not accept, on the grounds that the institution would not accept his wife Joan into a faculty position because she was a woman.
Both Tom and Joan Steitz instead joined the Yale faculty in 1970, where he continued to work on cellular and structural biology. Steitz and Peter Moore determined the atomic structure of the large 50S ribosomal subunit using X-ray crystallography, and published their findings in Science in 2000. In 2009, Steitz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his ribosome research.
Steitz was also one of the founders of a company, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, now Melinta Therapeutics for the development of new antibiotics based on the ribosome.
- Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2009)
- Elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2011
It should also be noted that Tom valued a good time. He always looked forward to department happy hours, wine tastings and any other excuse for a party. He hosted many wonderful Halloween parties at his home, always appropriately attire in costume.
Steitz was married to Joan A. Steitz, a distinguished molecular biologist who is also a Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. He lived with her in Branford, Connecticut and had one son, Jon. He died on October 9, 2018 of complications during treatment of pancreatic cancer.
- Steitz, T. A., et al. "Determination of the Atomic-Resolution Crystal Structure of the Large Subunit from the Ribosome of Haloarcula marismortui;", nsls newsletter, (November 2000).
- Steitz, T. A., et al. "The Atomic Resolution Crystal Structure of the Large Ribosomal Subunit from Haloarcula marismortui", NSLS Activity Report (2000).
- "Foreign Members". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
- Kolata, Gina (10 October 2018). "Thomas A. Steitz, 78, Dies; Illuminated a Building Block of Life". The New York Times.
- 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Foundation.
- Thomas Steitz, Thomas Steitz Lab.
- Thomas A. Steitz, The Gairdner 50 Foundation.
- "Lawrence To Honor Nobel Prize Winner with Building Renaming Ceremony on Friday". Lawrence University. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Steitz, T. A. and Lipscomb, W. N., "Molecular Structure of Methyl Ethylene Phosphate," J Am. Chem. Soc. 87, 2488 (1965).
- Hartsuck JA, Ludwig ML, Muirhead H, Steitz TA, Lipscomb WN. Carbyxypeptidase A, II, The Three-dimensional Electron Density Map at 6 A Resolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1965 February; 53(2): 396–403.
- Lipscomb, W. N., Coppola, J. C., Hartsuck, J. A., Ludwig, M. L., Muirhead, H., Searl, J. and Steitz, T. A., "The Structure of Carboxypeptidase A. III. Molecular Structure at 6 A Resolution," J Mol. Biol. 19, 423-441 (1966).
- Ludwig, M. L., Coppola, J. C., Hartsuck, J. A., Muirhead, H., Searl, J., Steitz, T. A. and Lipscomb, W. N., "Molecular Structure of Carboxypeptidase A at 6 A Resolution," Federation Proc. 25, Part I, 346 (1966).
- Ludwig ML, Hartsuck JA, Steitz TA, Muirhead H, Coppola JC, Reeke GN, Lipscomb WN. The Structure of Carboxypeptidase A, IV. Prelimitary Results at 2.8 A Resolution, and a Substrate Complex at 6 A Resolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1967 March; 57(3): 511–514.
- Reeke GN, Hartsuck JA, Ludwig ML, Quiocho FA, Steitz TA, Lipscomb WN. The structure of carboxypeptidase A. VI. Some Results at 2.0-A Resolution, and the Complex with Glycyl-Tyrosine at 2.8-A Resolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1967 Dec;58(6):2220–2226.
- Lipscomb, W. N, Ludwig, M. L., Hartsuck, J. A., Steitz, T. A., Muirhead, H., Coppola, J. C., Reeke, G. N. and Quiocho, F. A., "Molecular Structure of Carboxypeptidase A at 2.8 A Resolution and an Isomorphous Enzyme-Substrate Complex at 6 A Resolution," Federation Proc. 26, 385 (1967).
- Lipscomb WN, Hartsuck JA, Reeke GN, Jr, Quiocho FA, Bethge PH, Ludwig ML, Steitz TA, Muirhead H, Coppola JC. The structure of carboxypeptidase A. VII. The 2.0-angstrom resolution studies of the enzyme and of its complex with glycyltyrosine, and mechanistic deductions. Brookhaven Symp Biol. 1968 Jun;21(1):24–90.
- Coppola, J. C., Hartsuck, J. A., Ludwig, M. L., Muirhead, H., Searl, J., Steitz, T. A. and Lipscomb, W. N., "The Low Resolution Structure of Carboxypeptidase A," Acta Crystallogr. 21, A160 (1966).
- Steitz TA, Wiley DC, Lipscomb WN. The structure of aspartate transcarbamylase, I. A molecular twofold axis in the complex with cytidine triphosphate. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1967 November; 58(5): 1859–1861.
- Ferry, Georgina (2018-10-30). "Thomas A. Steitz (1940–2018)". Nature. 563 (7729): 36. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-07187-2. ISSN 0028-0836.
- "Yale Researches Solve Structure of the Ribosome; Groundbreaking Achievement 'Like Climbing Mount Everest'". YaleNews. 10 August 2000. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Ramakrishnan, V.; Henderson, Richard (2021). "Thomas Arthur Steitz. 23 August 1940—9 October 2018". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 72.
- "The Best Job Ever. Reflections On My Time with Tom Steitz, 1985–2018 by Peggy Eatheron". Structural Insights Into Gene Expression And Protein Synthesis. Series in Structural Biology—Volume 12. Singapore: World Scientific. 2020. pp. 29–31.
- "The Best Job Ever. Reflections On My Time with Tom Steitz, 1985–2018 by Peggy Eatheron". Structural Insights Into Gene Expression And Protein Synthesis. 2020. pp. 29–31. (quote from p. 31)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2011-04-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thomas A. Steitz.|
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