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2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry to Give Benning Lecture

What: 2009 Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., whose prize-winning work began at the University of Utah, is returning to campus to present a Benning Society Special Lecture in Medicine. His remarks will explain the structure and function of the ribosome, how the ribosome structure helps us to understand the mechanisms of existing antibiotics and develop new ones, and the role the U of U played in his research.

Editor’s Note: The lecture is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is recommended to Autumn Thatcher. A live Web cast of the event will also be available at

When: Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower, 4th Floor (451 S. 1400 E.), Salt Lake City

Who: Venki Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Director of Structural Studies, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, and Former Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah (1995-1999)

Details: Ramakrishnan was one of three winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognized for their work in mapping the atomic structure of ribosomes. Ribosomes “read” the genetic code in genes, and use the code to produce proteins that carry out all the functions of cells and organisms. The research has led to development of new antibiotics that target ribosomes. Following his visit to the U campus, Ramakrishnan will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet President Obama. He will receive the Nobel Prize in Sweden the first week in December.

The Benning Society Lecture series is sponsored through the H. A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowment, which was established in August 2005 by a $22.5 million bequest from the late Arthur E. Benning, former president and chairman of the board of Amalgamated Sugar, and named in honor of his parents. Benning had been greatly impressed by the work of University of Utah doctors in saving the life of a co-worker’s daughter. The endowment allows the university’s medical school to recruit and retain top researchers and clinicians in a variety of fields.