Professor Joan Steitz ForMemRS
Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Joan Steitz is one of the pioneers of the field of RNA biology who is world renowned for her many seminal contributions. She showed how ribosomal RNA is used to initiate translation at the start site of mRNA. She discovered spliceosomes, the particles that are the sites of splicing of pre-messenger RNA into the final mature mRNA and elucidated many of their roles. She discovered that introns, which were thought to be inert, code for sno RNAs that target the modification of other cellular RNAs during their maturation. More recently she has found new roles for microRNAs in gene regulation.