Roderick MacKinnon

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Roderick MacKinnon (born 1956 in Burlington, Massachusetts) is a professor of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at Rockefeller University who in 2003 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure and operation of ion channels. (That year Peter Agre shared the prize for his independent investigations of water channels).

Before MacKinnon, the detailed molecular architecture of channels and the exact means by which they convey ions remained speculative. But in 1998, despite a barrier to the structural study of integral membrane proteins that had thwarted most attempts for decades, MacKinnon and colleagues unlocked the architecture of a potassium channel from bacteria with X-ray crystallography. Science Magazine called the achievement "one of the 10 biggest science stories of 1998."

In 1999, MacKinnon shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research -- the nation's most distinguished honor for outstanding contributions to basic and clinical medical research. The prizes were established in 1946 and are often called "America's Nobels" -- more than half of all Lasker winners since 1962 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

A professor of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at the Rockefeller University and an investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute, MacKinnon was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2000.

He received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brandeis University in 1978 and a medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital and postdoctoral work at Brandeis with Christopher Miller. Much of his early work involved the application of scorpion toxins to potassium channel structure.

Dr. MacKinnon has received numerous awards for his research, including the 2000 Rosenstiel Award and the 2001 Gairdner Foundation International Award.

He is a member of the Alpha Omega Medical Honor Society, a PEW scholar in the BioMedical Sciences and the recipient of the McKnight Scholars Award, the Biophysical Society Young Investigator Award, the McKnight Investigator Award, the W. Alden Spencer Award and the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize.


External links

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