2018 Spiers Memorial Award Winner


Professor Ilme Schlichting
Professor Ilme Schlichting
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research

 

Awarded for pioneering contributions to crystal structure determination of unstable states including reaction intermediates providing unprecedented insight in enzyme catalysis and protein dynamics.


About the Winner


Ilme Schlichting heads the Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. She studied biology and physics at Heidelberg University. After obtaining her Ph.D. with Kenneth C. Holmes she moved to Brandeis University to postdoc with Gregory A. Petsko. Subsequently she became a group leader in Roger Goody's department at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund before accepting her position as a director at the MPI in 2002. 

Schlichting's research aims at understanding how proteins achieve their unique functional properties. Her group studies mainly heme and flavin containing proteins. Both cofactors allow for a plethora of different reactions, yet, most of the enzymes are highly specific catalysts. Thus, an important question is how does the protein fine-tune the reactivity of the cofactor and of the intermediates occurring during the reaction? Key insight is obtained from structures of reaction intermediates. Schlichting was the first to successfully combine photolysis of caged compounds and Laue crystallography to study GTP hydrolysis by the Ras protein, to observe ligand binding intermediates in myoglobin, and to resolve the reaction intermediates of a cytochrome P450 at high spatial resolution. Her latest interests include the application of Free-Electron Laser radiation for structural biology. Their highly intense femtosecond X-ray pulses enable time-resolved measurements as fast as the chemical time-scale of femtoseconds.


Related Links

Link icon Professor Schlichting's Webpage
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research


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