Centenary Prize for Kim Nasmyth

Trinity Professorial Fellow Kim Nasmyth has been awarded the Centenary Award by the Biochemical Society. The international award is given annually to a biochemist of distinction, and recognises his work his work on the segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

Professor Nasmyth is Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at Oxford. He has been a Robertson Research Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor, and a member of staff at the MRC laboratory for molecular biology in Cambridge, as well as as Senior Fellow and then Directer at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna. His scientific work has addressed the mechanisms by which genes are turned on and off during development, how DNA replication is controlled, and how chromosomes are segregated during mitosis and meiosis.

On winning the Centenary Award, Professor Nasmyth said: ‘I must confess that I never trained as a biochemist. I had planned to read chemistry but changed to biology shortly after arriving at university and eventually became a molecular geneticist. Ever since, I have always strived to explain biological phenomena in terms as simple as possible.

‘Partly by chance and partly by inclination, I have spent much of my research career attempting to understand the propagation of chromosomes during cell division, a biochemical process unique to living systems. This required molecular genetics to identify the key players, such as cohesin, but now requires biochemistry and biophysics to understand its mode of action. There are times now when I regret abandoning chemistry so early in my career, but if I had not, I would never have discovered cohesin or had the privilege to be one of the first people to study its remarkable enzymology. As a molecular geneticist, I am therefore especially honoured to have been recognized by the Biochemical Society’s Centenary Award as an honorary biochemist.’

The Annual Biochemical Society awards recognise the community of researchers and academics that are dedicated to understanding biology at a molecular and cellular level. The winner of the award is presented with a medal and gives an award lecture.

Posted: 23 March 2020

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