Elizabeth Wasmuth Awarded 2015 Chairman’s Prize

Monday, August 3, 2015

Elizabeth Wasmuth

Gerstner Sloan Kettering student Elizabeth Wasmuth has been awarded the Chairman’s Prize for her first-author paper Structure of an Rrp6-RNA exosome complex bound to poly (A) RNA, published in Nature in 2014. Elizabeth is currently doing her research in the laboratory of Christopher D. Lima in the Structural Biology Program.

Elizabeth describes her paper below:

The RNA exosome is a large, donut-shaped assembly of at least 10 to 11 distinct proteins that is involved in many fundamental cellular processes, including, but not limited to, maintaining proper levels of RNA to prevent unwanted accumulation, or finding RNAs that have mistakes and clearing them out. The present study utilized a method called x-ray crystallography to obtain a structural model of a 10-component exosome similar to one found in the nucleus. The structure provides a snapshot of the exosome, with RNA engaged in its active site, poised for degradation. The protein architecture and molecular contacts defined in the model provide new insights into how this complicated assembly functions.

The Chairman’s Prize, awarded annually, was established by Gerstner Sloan Kettering Board of Trustees Chair Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., for whom the graduate school is named. Mr. Gerstner is an internationally renowned corporate leader who has long been an advocate of quality education.