2001 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement
Alexander Rich is William Thompson Sedgwick Professor of Biophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is best known for his discovery of left-handed DNA, or Z-DNA, and the three-dimensional structure of transfer RNA, key discoveries that have led to an understanding of the role and function of RNA and DNA molecules in heredity. Rich has long been recognized as a preeminent researcher in structural molecular biology, a field that seeks to understand the molecular architecture of living organisms. Rich described in the journal Science (June 11, 1999) how the three-dimensional structure of Z-DNA binds to a protein involved in editing genetic messages important in a number of brain receptors. President Clinton recognized his outstanding scientific achievements with the Medal of Science in 1995. His other awards include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Philosophical Society and the French Academy of Sciences.