The microscopy Society of America annually recognizes preeminent scientists from Biology and Physics, who have made distinguished contributions to the field of microscopy and microanalysis. The 2015 prize in Life Sciences was awarded to Alexey Amunts, Assistant Professor at Stockholm University / SciLifeLab.
The rewarded work showed that electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) can achieve visualization of macromolecules at the atomic level. This is currently revolutionizing the field of molecular biology, revealing detailed structures of otherwise intractable molecular complexes that are at the heart of many biological processes.
The project that Alexey Amunts has been working on led to the most detailed mechanistic understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning the process of protein synthesis in human mitochondria. Apart from intriguing methodological and biological insights, the results have important implications for human health, as it provide a reference for analysis of mutations that cause severe pathologies and for future drug design.