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Widom Named William Deering Professor in Biological Sciences

January 23, 2007

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Jonathan Widom, professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology at the Northwestern University Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed William Deering Professor in Biological Sciences.

His research interests focus on the structure and function of chromosomes and on the biophysical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. A new project attempts to answer fundamental questions about the physico-chemical basis of gene regulation through quantitative studies of single living cells.

Widom's research has revealed unanticipated ways in which higher levels of information exist in the genetic code and influence how accessible the DNA is to the transcriptional machinery. His work has profound implications for how genes are able to be read in the cell and how mutations outside the regions that encode proteins can lead to errors and disease.

Honored for his scholarship, Widom received a Searle Scholars Award (1985-88) and a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1988-1983). The National Institutes of Health has supported his research since 1985.

His research has been published in many journals including Cell, Nature and the Journal of Molecular Biology and Methods in Enzymology.

Widom directed Northwestern's Center for Structural Biology from 1994 to 2000, where he led a successful effort to obtain substantial funding from the Keck Foundation to purchase state-of-the-art instrumentation for analyzing the biochemical and biophysical properties of proteins.

At Northwestern Widom played a major role in the reorganization of the curriculum in biochemistry and biophysics and initiated the National Institutes of Health's Molecular Biophysics Training Program.

Widom, who joined the Northwestern faculty in 1991, also serves on the faculty of the University's Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Program (IBiS), which brings together basic and applied sciences faculty from both the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The primary purpose of IBiS is to encourage the development of doctoral students as independent, creative research scientists and teachers.

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