Thomas Cech

Thomas " Tom" Robert Cech ( born December 8, 1947 in Chicago, United States) is an American chemist.

He received in 1989 along with Sidney Altman received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on self -splicing RNA.


Cech studied and received his doctorate in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley. First, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; his first professorship was Tom Cech at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he still leads a research laboratory today.


The scientific interest Cech's concerns on the one hand and the processing of RNA, ie the maturation steps from the primary transcript to functional RNA. The central discovery was there in 1982 to prove the ability of the ribosomal RNA to remove from the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila, an in- large rRNA intron without the involvement of a protein. Thus, the " Selbstspleißens " ("self - splicing " ) was first identified.

Another area of ​​research concerns the structure and function of telomeres, where a special enzyme, telomerase, is responsible for the formation of the ends of linear chromosomes.

For his scientific work Tom Cech has not yet received other awards besides the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, including 1985, the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, 1987, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology and the 1988 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Louisa- Gross Horwitz Prize and the Gairdner Foundation International Award. Cech is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2000 to 2009 he was president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.