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Fellows Directory

Michael Rossmann

Professor Michael Rossmann ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 1996


Michael Rossmann is a physicist and microbiologist who was the first to map the structure of the virus that causes the common cold in humans at an atomic level. He also discovered a structure that is widely found in nucleotide-binding proteins and is named after him — the Rossmann fold.

Early in his career, Michael played a pivotal role in discovering the structure of haemoglobin, the oxygen-transporting protein found in red blood cells. His work then focused on investigating the structure of viruses and their proteins, with his discoveries suggesting a shared origin for plant and animal viruses. Most recently, Michael has shown that the dengue virus changes shape when it enters its host, indicating that vaccines should mimic a virus’s shape in the body.

Michael is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has won many awards for his work on the cold virus, including the Canada Gairdner International Award, presented for outstanding contributions to medical science.

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