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14 February, 2018 - 02:34 By Kate Sweeney

New director for ‘Nobel Prize factory’

Dr Jan Löwe, currently joint head of the Structural Studies Division and deputy director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge – known as the Nobel Prize factory’– has been named as its new director. He succeeds Sir Hugh Pelham, who is retiring after 12 years at the helm.

The LMB is a multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to the understanding of important biological processes at the levels of atoms, molecules, cells and organisms, towards solving key problems in human health. 

Scientists at the LMB tackle difficult long-term research problems and have made revolutionary contributions to science – such as in the sequencing of DNA and pioneering the method of X-ray crystallography to determine protein structure.

The LMB was set up by the MRC in 1962 and continues to produce exceptional scientific outputs. Fifteen LMB scientists have been awarded Nobel Prizes for their work, the latest being Dr Richard Henderson, who was awarded the 2017 Chemistry Prize for the development of cryo-electron microscopy.

As director, Dr Löwe (pictured) will have control of a core budget of some £190 million over five years and direction of over 700 research and support staff. He said: “Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought in 1996 when I came here that I would one day be the director of this great institute. 

“Being given such an important job makes me feel both excited and humbled. I will aim to preserve and develop LMB’s very special culture and people, so that new ideas keep the LMB at the forefront of molecular biology, where it belongs.”

Jan was selected after a competitive international search carried out by the MRC. 

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