Award Name : Benjamin Franklin Medal
Year of Award : 2014
Award for : Medical
Location : New York City, New York, United States
Dr. Joachim Frank is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. He is also a Distinguished Professor at the State University of New York at Albany.Dr. Frank obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Technical University in Munich in 1970 with a dissertation on digital image processing of electron micrographs. He went to several labs in the USA on a Harkness Fellowship, including the Jet Propulsion Lab in Altadena and UC Berkeley, then joined the lab of Dr. Vernon Ellis Cosslett at the Cavendish Lab where he worked on single-particle averaging and the theory of partial coherence. In 1975 he joined the Wadsworth Center at Albany as a Senior Research Scientist, where he developed SPIDER, an image processing system tailored to single-particle averaging and reconstruction.He joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the newly created School of Public Health at SUNY Albany as Professor in 1985.
Since 1987 when the first reconstruction of the ribosome was obtained using these new methods he continued the study of ribosome structure and dynamics. In 1998 Dr. Frank received an appointment as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. His work has been recognized by numerous Awards. In 2006 he was elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Science, and Member of the Academy of Microbiology. He moved to New York City in 2008 to assume his present position at Columbia University. He received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in 2014 for the development of Cryo-Electron Microscopy, for using this technology to investigate the structure of large organic molecules at high resolution, and for discoveries regarding the mechanism of protein synthesis in cells.