One of our luminaries and pioneers in cryo-EM, Michael Rossmann of Purdue University, sadly passed away at 88 last week. He was particularly well-known for his virus and immune response research.
Michael Rossmann (right), Purdue University’s Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, and Richard Kuhn, director of the Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, stand with the cryo-electron microscope used to determine the structure of the Zika virus. Image and caption via Purdue University/Mark Simons.
Dr. Rossmann first gained attention in 1985 when he used x-ray crystallography to discover the structure of the common cold virus. In 2002, he garnered more praise when he and his colleague, Richard Kuhn, Purdue’s Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science, discovered the structure of the dengue virus, a mosquito-borne illness that is estimated to infect 390 million people each year, 96 million of which manifest clinically or sub-clinically. Their finding opened the doors to discovering new vaccines and antiviral agents to treat a wide variety of insect-borne diseases.
In 2016, the team made news again when they determined the structure of the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne illness had been declared an epidemic, and their findings helped the science community slow its spread. In 2018, the team used our instruments to create the most accurate picture of Zika to-date. Their discovery led to the possibility of creating antiviral compounds and vaccines.
We’re truly saddened to hear the news and send our condolences to Dr. Kuhn and the team at Purdue, as well as his students around the globe. His impact on cryo-EM was profound and will not be forgotten.
- Renowned Purdue University scientist Michael Rossmann dies
- The global distribution and burden of dengue
- Cryo-EM Gives Researchers a Detailed View of the Zika Virus Structure
Lauren Shaber is senior communications lead at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
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