Jan Lwe awarded 2007 EMBO Gold Medal

folding. As a result, essential processes of the bacterial cell, such as cell shape maintenance, DNA segregation and cell division were viewed in a different light.

Jan revolutionised our understanding of the cytoskeleton in bacteria, which had often been regarded as structureless bags of enzymes, explains Tony Crowther, former Joint Head of the Structural Studies Division at MRC-LMB. He determined the structure and function of several bacterial homologues of tubulin and actin and analysed the filamentous nature of their assemblies.

Two years after starting his post-doc at the MRC-LMB, Jan fast-tracked to become a Group Leader, and has focused on Molecular Machines. Recently, his group has discovered another protein in bacteria that was thought to be a 'signature' protein for eukaryotic cells: dynamin. They continue to explore the bacterial cytoskeleton using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy and are starting to use electron tomography of whole, frozen cells to visualise the cytoskeleton in cells.

Jan is now determining how bacterial actin and tubulin homologues and other key molecules control chromosome separation and cell division, adds Tony Crowther. He has a fearless approach to all aspects of modern structural biology and we are delighted that the EMBO Gold Medal has been awarded to someone with such strong structural interests.

In addition to the EMBO Gold Medal, Lwe has received several other awards and accolades, including the Max-Perutz Prize for his work on the structure of FtsZ and the Philip Leverhulme prize. Jan has also been no stranger to EMBO over the years. His post-doc in Cambridge was funded by an EMBO Long-term fellowship, he was selected in 2000 to participate in EMBOs highly competitive Young Investigator Programme and, in 2004, he was elected as an EMBO Member.

EMBO has been a tremendous support to me during my career and I am extremely delighted to have won such a prestigious award

Contact: Anne Seller
European Molecular Biology Organization

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