Stephen Harrison is a structural biologist who uses X-ray crystallography techniques to determine the structure of viruses. Stephen was the first researcher to reveal the three-dimensional structure of an intact virus. He has since used his studies to help uncover how viruses gain entry to the cells they infect and then leave to spread to others.
Working first on a plant virus, he soon moved on to more complex viruses that infect humans and may lead to serious diseases. These include human papillomavirus, dengue virus and HIV. Stephen currently combines his structural work with methods for probing the human immune response — an approach that he hopes will lead to new strategies for vaccine development.
Stephen’s work has yielded major technical advances in determining the structure of large biomolecules composed of multiple parts. In recognition of his remarkable research, he has received a number of awards, including the 1997 ICN International Prize in Virology and the 2006 Gregori Aminoff Prize for crystallography from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.