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The Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture 2022 given by Dr Sjors Scheres FRS.


The Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture 2022 given by Dr Sjors Scheres FRS.

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We are intrigued by how proteins work. Our genetic code determines the amino acid sequence of proteins, which in turn determines their 3D structure. The precise 3D arrangement of thousands of atoms inside individual protein molecules allows them to perform the complicated tasks that are needed to keep us alive. Therefore, visualising the 3D atomic structures of proteins is a powerful way to find out more about how they work and what goes wrong in disease. Dr Scheres’ teams’ research focuses on the development and application of new methods for the study of protein structures by electron microscopy on frozen samples (cryo-EM).

In this lecture, Dr Scheres will explain how recent developments in cryo-EM have led to an explosion of new protein structures, where we can now see details down to individual atoms. Dr Scheres will highlight how some of our developments in image processing algorithms, and their implementation in the open-source computer program RELION, are helping scientists around the world to learn more about how proteins work. As an illustration of what is possible nowadays, Dr Scheres will also describe how his team have applied their methods to study protein samples that they extract from human brain tissue, and how these experiments are leading to exciting new insights into what goes wrong in neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's disease and other conditions.

Attending the event

  • This lecture will take place at the Royal Society (this is an in-person event) on 26 April at 6.30pm BST. This event will be recorded (including the live Q&A) and the recording will be available on YouTube soon after the event. 
  • The event is free to join. Advance registration is essential due to seating availability.
  • Live subtitles will be available.
  • If after registering you are not able to attend, please cancel your ticket so others can attend.
  • The lecture will be livestreamed onto this webpage, this does not require any registration. If you wish to receive a reminder for the stream please book an online-only ticket and you will be sent a link to view the lecture. This page will update with a livestream on the day as well as a link to participate in the live Q&A. 

The award

The Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture. It was originally established to recognise excellence in the field of microbiology but now also includes excellence in bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology, and microscopy. The lectureship was named after the Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek FRS, often referred to as the ‘Father of Microbiology’, and is supported by a bequest from George Gabb. Originally it was held annually, and from 2006 to 2018 it was awarded triennially, but it is now awarded biennially. The lecture was first given in 1950. The medal is of bronze, is awarded biennially and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000.

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