Eva Nogales, a University of California, Berkeley professor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory senior faculty member, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will give the 2016 Keith Porter Lecture at ASCB 2016 this December in San Francisco. Nogales has revolutionized the structural study of proteins frozen at cryogenic temperatures (below –238°F or –150°C) with cryo-electron microscopy. In a landmark paper published this May, her lab solved the structure of a human transcription promoter in near-atomic resolution.
A native of Spain and a graduate in Physics from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Nogales made her way to biophysics after a chance encounter at a conference with the director of the Synchrotron Radiation Source in the UK who invited her to join the facility. While working on her PhD at Keele University, Nogales was drawn to novel biological applications of physics and particularly toward the self-assembly of microtubules. “Just through the universal language of mathematics you can explain amazing physical phenomenon… I think that connection between mathematics and the natural world was very attractive,” Nogales said in a 2014 interview. Nogales was the first to discover the structure of tubulin, the subunit of microtubules, as a postdoc in Ken Downing’s lab at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she moved in 1993.
Nogales is a long-time ASCB member who received the 2005 ASCB Early Career Award. She also won the Chabot Science Award for Excellence in 2005, and was elected as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. The Porter Lecturer is named for Keith Porter, a pioneer in the use of electron microscopy in biology and one of the founders of ASCB. Nogales will give the Porter Lecture in San Francisco on Sunday, December 4.
About the Author:
Christina Szalinski is a science writer with a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.