The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography 2016 to Professor Poul Nissen, Aarhus University. Poul Nissen is the first Dane to receive the Aminoff Prize.
Poul Nissen shares the prize with and Professor Chakashi Toyoshima, University of Tokyo, Japan. The two researchers are awarded the prize "for their fundamental contribution to understanding the structural basis for ATP-driven translocation of ions across membranes”.
Crystallography is a key technology to determine molecular structures in physics, chemistry and biology. These structures enable us to understand the characteristics of materials and chemicals, but also the function of biological macromolecules as proteins and DNA.
Pär Nordlund, Chair of the Aminoff Prize Committee, says:
"The Laureates have developed a new technology to crystallise and determine structures of membrane proteins in their natural environment. The major breakthrough is that the study has enabled us to understand the mechanism of transport of ions through cell membranes, to understand intermediate states in this very complex system.
To use structured information of this kind nowadays plays a very important role in the process of making new pharmaceutical drugs."
Professors Chikashi Toyoshima and Poul Nissen have determined crystal structures of several key members of the P-type ATPase family and have established structures of essential intermediates in their ion transport cycles, information which has led to the detailed description of molecular mechanisms of these important ion translocation systems.
In addition to the honour, the two researchers receive SEK 50,000 Swedish each, which will be given to them at a ceremony in Stockholm on 31 March 2016, where they will also give a talk about their research.
The Gregori Aminoff Prize
The Aminoff Prize is intended to reward a documented, individual contribution in the field of crystallography, including areas concerned with the dynamics of the formation and determination of crystal structures. The prize may be awarded either to an individual Swedish or foreign researcher, or to a joint research group of no more than three persons. The Aminoff Prize was awarded for the first time in 1979.