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Fellows Directory

Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson

Professor Richard Jackson FRS


Elected: 2006


Richard Jackson made major contributions to cell biology, focusing on the moment at which ribosomes within the cell begin to translate the cell’s genetic instructions, in the form of messenger RNA (mRNA), into protein products. Understanding how the cell regulates this translation process has significant implications for new therapies in cancer and a range of viral diseases.

Eleven different eukaryotic initiation factors, or eIFs, participate in regulating translation, and Richard developed standard methods of studying their interactions in cultured cells. He explored how these factors enable the ribosome to select the correct initiating site by scanning from one end of an mRNA molecule.

He also investigated ‘internal ribosome entry segments’ (IRESs) in both cellular and viral mRNA where ribosomes initiate translation directly. Richard continued to study the way IRESs enable viruses to subvert the host’s protein production machinery.

Professor Richard Jackson FRS died on 21 September 2020.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of RNA Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)


Messenger RNA, Ribosomes, Translation initiation, Translation termination, Ribosome scanning, Internal ribosome entry site

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