About the Author
A member of the Yale faculty since 1970 and currently Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Joan Argetsinger Steitz, Ph.D., has made outstanding contributions to the field of molecular genetics. Her studies have defined the roles of small ribonucleoprotein particles in RNA processing in mammals. She has focused her research on the structure and function of these cellular complexes, which play a key role in some of the most basic biological processes that convert information in the DNA to the active protein molecules of the living cell.Dr. Steitz earned her B.S. in chemistry from Antioch College in 1963. Significant findings emerged from Dr. Steitz's work as early as 1967, when her Harvard Ph.D. thesis examined the test-tube assembly of a ribonucleic acid (RNA) bacteriophage (antibacterial virus) known as R17. This work led to important early insights about how the protein and nucleic-acid components of viruses come together.Dr. Steitz's achievements have led to a host of honors, including the Passano Foundation Young Scientist Award in 1975, the National Medal of Science in 1986, and the Radcliffe Graduate Society's Medal for Distinguished Achievements in 1987. She also holds the 1976 Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry; Carnegie Mellon University's 1988 Dickson Prize for Science; and the 1989 Warren Triennial Prize, which she shared with Thomas R. Cech. In 1994, she was one of ten U.S. scientists to receive the Christopher Columbus Discovery Award in Biomedical Research and also received the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award. In June 1994, Dr. Steitz became the first recipient of the Weizmann Women and Science Award conferred by the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. In October 1996 she received The City of Medicine Award, established in 1988 to recognize outstanding achievements in medicine throughout the nation and the world.