Center News Magazine: Dinshaw Patel Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Dinshaw J. Patel Dinshaw J. Patel

Dinshaw J. Patel, a Member in Sloan Kettering Institute’s Structural Biology Program and incumbent of the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Chair in Experimental Therapeutics, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences at its 146th annual meeting in April.

I am both thrilled and humbled,” Dr. Patel said in thanking his colleagues and friends, who gathered in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Student and Faculty Club on May 18 to celebrate his election. “I received this honor because of the work of many exceptional students and postdoctorals in my lab, all of whom have contributed to this recognition.

Sloan Kettering Institute Director Thomas J. Kelly congratulated Dr. Patel for his pioneering work in both nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and crystallography, techniques that are used to study the architecture and function of molecules. “Dinshaw has done important work in many different areas, generating beautiful structures and beautiful science,” Dr. Kelly said.

In recent years, Dr. Patel and his coworkers have made groundbreaking discoveries in exploring the inner workings of proteins and nucleic acids. Their research has revealed how post-translational modifications of nucleosomal histones regulate access to the underlying DNA by modulating local chromatin structure. They have also shed light on another gene regulation pathway known as RNA interference.

Dr. Patel is the eleventh Memorial Sloan Kettering investigator to be awarded an Academy membership, one of the most prestigious honors a scientist can receive.