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Nobel laureate joins University

7 May 2007

An image of Professor Dr Robert Huber

Nobel Laureate Professor Dr Robert Huber has joined Cardiff University. Professor Huber of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany will spearhead the development of Structural Biology, part of a university-wide initiative in Chemical Biology, on a part-time basis. Professor Huber was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (together with Johann Deisenhofer and Hartmut Michel) for the determination of the 3-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre.

Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant said: "We are delighted to make this world-class appointment at Cardiff. Professor Huber will develop Cardiff’s capability as a leading centre of Chemical Biology research."

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Cardiff School of Chemistry, said: "The appointment of one of the world’s leading figures in this field is testament to our ambitious vision for the development of research at the interface between the physical, life and medical sciences at Cardiff."

The Structural Biology Unit is being established as a joint initiative between the Schools of Chemistry and Biosciences. The Unit is supported by funding from the Higher Education Funding Council Wales for state of the art equipment and the appointment of a lecturer in Structural Biology to develop this new world-class facility.

Professor Adrian Harwood, Cardiff School of Biosciences said, "This appointment is the perfect catalyst for our initiative in Chemical Biology, and we look forward to working alongside our eminent new colleague."

Chemical Biology applies chemical principles and methods to understand and manipulate the molecules that make up living cells. Central to this science is the knowledge of protein structure. Proteins are indispensable molecules in living systems, and each has a unique three-dimensional structure that is well suited for its particular job. Proteins control normal cell processes, but changes to protein structure lie behind diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease and the prion disease new variant CJD.

Structural biology aims to determine the structure of proteins and their interactions with each other and with other molecules in cells. It has major implications for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of many diseases. Professor Huber’s appointment in the Cardiff School of Biosciences brings a major area of interdisciplinary research at Cardiff cementing links between the Schools of Chemistry, Biosciences, Pharmacy, Optometry and Vision Sciences and the School of Medicine.

In addition to research, Professor Huber will contribute to teaching within undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Cardiff University.