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Professor Dr. Marina Rodnina

Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer Institute), Göttingen

Prof. Dr. Marina Rodnina

Prof. Dr. Marina Rodnina

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Marina Rodnina is being presented with the Leibniz Prize in recognition of her pioneering contributions to the understanding of the function of ribosomes. These extremely complex molecular machines synthesise proteins from amino acids. Rodnina is primarily interested in the question of how this process of translation can take place with maximum precision and without errors – which is exceedingly important because a single "wrong" component can result in a defective protein and damage throughout the entire cell. By using a combination of kinetic and fluorescence-based methods, Rodnina has obtained entirely new insights into the structure and function of ribosomes. Her findings represent the most comprehensive conceptual and quantitative framework yet produced for the understanding of translation. In other projects she has identified a series of proteins and clarified their function, for example the auxiliary protein EF-P, opening up new possibilities for defence against bacteria. Finally, Rodnina decoded the mechanism of "recoding", mainly used by organisms with a small genome to deliberately change their reading frame in translation in order to make more proteins. These and other findings of Rodnina's have long appeared in textbooks and enjoy high international recognition.

Born in Kiev, where she studied biology and obtained her doctorate in molecular biology and genetics, Marina Rodnina moved to the University of Witten-Herdecke in 1990 with a research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It was here that she completed her habilitation and was appointed Professor of Physical Biochemistry. Since 2008 she has been director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.

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