Joachim Frank, PhD, professor of biochemistry & molecular biophysics and of biological sciences, received the 16th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences for pioneering developments in electron microscopy that are transforming structural studies of biological molecules and their complexes. He shared the prize with Marin van Heel, PhD, from Leiden University and Richard Henderson, PhD, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, U.K.
Since 2002, the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences has been presented annually to recognize contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced concepts in a particular biomedical discipline. Among the prize recipients, six have subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Electron microscopy makes it possible to capture the image of objects too small to be seen by light microscopes. Viruses, proteins, and even atoms are visible with today’s electron microscopes.
In the late 1970s, Dr. Frank developed techniques that process thousands of 2-D images taken of identical molecules, lying in different orientations, into a single composite 3-D image. These techniques are still employed today by most structural biologists who use electron microscopy.
Dr. Frank also is an HHMI investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014 he received the Franklin Medal in Life Science given by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.