How Antibiotics Block the Ribosome, the Cell’s Protein Factory

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK
SNS Central Laboratory and Office Building (8600), Iran Thomas Auditorium (Room A-103)
Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Lecture
Email: Lindsey Twardy

Dr. Ramakrishnan is the joint head of the structural studies division at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and a senior research fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, England. His research determined the 30S ribosomal subunit and its complexes with antibiotics and ligands, as well as the entire 70S ribosome with mRNA and tRNA ligands. This work earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, an award he shared with Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath. Most recently, Ramakrishnan’s lab determined high-resolution structures of many functional states of the ribosome, providing further insight into its role in the decoding of mRNA, peptidyl transfer, translocation and termination.

Prior to LMB, Ramakrishnan was a professor at the University of Utah and a member of the biology division at Brookhaven National Laboratory. From 1982-1983, he worked on the research staff at ORNL, focusing on the biological neutron scattering effort with Ed Uberbacher and Gerry Bunick. He received a PhD in physics from Ohio University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University.

The visit will include small group discussions with senior researchers, early career scientists and postdoctoral fellows -- as well as visits to the Lab’s research facilities -- to provide staff the opportunity to interact one-on-one. A poster session will occur on Main Street the afternoon of July 28 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. All lab staff are invited to attend.

Transportation to and from the SNS will be available the morning of the lecture. Shuttles will run from the main campus beginning at 9 a.m. ORNL buses will run from the Visitor Center to SNS, including one pick-up at Bldg. 1520 at 9:15 a.m. Buses will resume after the talk, and attendance is highly encouraged.

Questions for Ramakrishnan may be submitted during the lecture, as well as in advance. Send questions via email ( or Twitter (@ORNL).

Refreshments will be served in the SNS lobby. The talk will not be webcast live, but available for later viewing on the Wigner lecture webpage.

Hosted by ORNL’s Corporate Fellows, the Wigner Distinguished Lecture Series promotes dialogue among Oak Ridge researchers and renowned leaders in science, industry, and government. Dr. Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT, will continue the series on Wednesday, December 10.


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