President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Distinguished Professor and Investigator at the Cech Laboratory, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, USA.
Cech discovered that the intron in rRNA catalyzes its own excision. The discovery that RNA can function as an enzyme has changed the traditional concept of an enzyme and is of major importance in our understanding of RNA functions. His work has already led to fundamentally new ideas about the origin and evolution of cell genetics.
Tom Cech and his group are working to understand the structure and function of catalytic RNA molecules and the activity and regulation of telomerase.
USPHS Research Career Development Award, 1980
Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, 1985
U.S. Steel Award in Molecular Biology, 1987
Heineken Prize, 1988
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1989
National Medal of Science, 1995
Zhang, B. and Cech, T. R. Peptidyl-transferase Ribozymes: trans Reactions, Structural Characterization and Ribosomal RNA-like Features. Chemistry & Biology 5, 539-553 (1998).
Golden, B. L., Gooding, A. R., Podell, E. and Cech, T. R. A Preorganized Active Site in the Crystal Structure of the Tetrahymena Ribozyme. Science 282, 259-264 (1998).
Nakamura, T. M., Cooper, J. P. and Cech, T. R. Two Modes of Survival of Fission Yeast without Telomerase. Science 282, 493-496 (1998).
Seto, A. G., Zaug, A. J., Sobel, S. G., Wolin, S. L. and Cech, T. R. Saccharomyces cerevisiae Telomerase is an Sm Small Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Particle. Nature 401, 177-180 (1999).
Friedman, K. L. and Cech, T. R. Essential Functions of N-terminal Domains in the Yeast Telomerase Catalytic Subunit Revealed by Selection for Viable Mutants. Genes Dev. 13, 2863-2874 (1999).