Dr. Robert Huber shares protein-crystallography expertise with researchers
Dr. Robert Huber, a German scientist who won a Nobel Prize in 1988 for his work with protein crystallography, has been sharing his expertise this week with the cancer researchers at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota.
Huber, a Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, gave a seminar on his research today to scientists at The Hormel Institute as part of his multi-day visit in Austin. Huber’s work focuses on exploring and interpreting the three-dimensional structure of biological molecules – work that is critical for basic research and the development of new medications.
“It is a tremendous honor to host and collaborate with one of the all-time great scientists,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute. “Dr. Huber’s award-winning work has advanced science in many ways throughout his career, assisting greatly with progress in medical research.”
The Hormel Institute uses protein crystallography in its cutting-edge cancer research as well as for studying diabetes and other diseases. Protein crystallography equipment, including an X-ray diffraction lab, is part of the Institute’s International Center of Research Technology (ICRT) that has been developed since its 2006-2008 major expansion project.
Huber studied chemistry in Germany at the Technische Hochschule, where he received his diploma in 1960. He continued researching there with methods of crystallography to reveal organic compound structures.
From 1972 to 2005, Huber served asa director at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Germany, where his team developed methods for the crystallography of proteins. Huber, in fact, developed the first protein-crystallography lab in Germany during his research on insect enerythrocruorin and basic pancreatic trypsin inhibitors.
In 1988, Huber received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Drs. Johann Deisenhofer and Hartmut Michel for their work in first crystallizing an intramembrane protein – important in the process of photosynthesis in purple bacteria – and, subsequently, applying X-ray crystallography to elucidate the protein’s structure. This work, which determined the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction center, brought deeper insight into photosynthesis, a process that produces the oxygen that all humans and animals need to breathe.
Considered by many to be the top scientific honor, the Nobel Prize is an international award given by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.