Daniela Rhodes is a structural biologist who studies the nature and function of chromosomes, as well as their interactions with a variety of proteins. Her research highlights include the crystallisation of the nucleosome core - the basic unit of DNA packaging - along with determining the structures of important protein-DNA complexes that are involved in transcription, such as nuclear hormone receptors and zinc-fingers.
More recently, she has focused on revealing the structure of telomeres, the tips of our chromosomes, which are composed of repetitive DNA sequences and help to protect against their deterioration. Her work in this area is contributing to our further understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind ageing and cancer propagation.
Daniela has received many accolades for her scientific achievements, including the 2011 Ponte d’Oro (Golden Bridge) Prize of her birthplace in Italy, and even the naming of a minor planet, '80008DanielaRhodes', in her honour. In 2023, she was awarded the WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine for elucidating the structure of the nucleosome at the atomic level, providing the basis for understanding chromatin, gene regulation, and epigenetics. In addition to being a Fellow of the Society, she was elected as a member of EMBO in 1996 and Academia Europaea in 2011.