Leeuwenhoek Prize Lecture
By Dr Tony Crowther
Viruses are a major cause of death and disease. Too small to be seen by light microscopy, they were first visualised about 50 years ago by electron microscopy. The preparative techniques then available allowed only crude images to be obtained. More recently rapidly frozen specimens embedded in a glass-like form of ice have allowed detailed molecular structures to be determined. This new approach depends on sophisticated computer programs to analyse the micrographs and create three dimensional maps of specimens such as viruses. Dr. Crowther will describe his work on the development of the methods and illustrate how he has applied them to hepatitis B virus, which causes liver disease and cancer in a large number of people worldwide.
Tony Crowther is a senior member of the scientific staff at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Until recently, he was Joint Head of the Structural Studies Division. He is a member of EMBO, a Fellow of Peterhouse and a Fellow of the Royal Society.