Albany Medical Center Prize for F.-Ulrich Hartl

F.-Ulrich Hartl, director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, will receive, together with Arthur L. Horwich and Susan L. Lindquist, this year’s Albany Medical Center Prize. The Albany Medical and Research Prize is endowed with $ 500,000 (450,000 €) and is one of America’s most distinguished Prizes in Medicine. The three awardees were honored for their fundamental and complementary discoveries related to the mechanism of protein folding. The prize will be awarded on September 28 in Albany, NY, USA.

Proteins are small molecular machines within each cell that perform a wide variety of essential tasks. To carry out their critical functions, newly produced immature chain-like proteins have to fold into specific, three-dimensional structures. In the 1980s F.-Ulrich Hartl and Arthur L. Horwich proved that proteins do not fold spontaneously, as had previously been thought. Rather, they need assistants in their folding process, so called chaperones. Hartl and Horwich discovered that certain chaperones function as cage-like ‘folding machines’, offering newly synthesized proteins a protected environment, which allows them to fold properly and adopt their appropriate functional structures. more