American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Resident (1)
2. Biological Sciences[X]
206. Physiology, Biophysics, and Pharmacology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Stephen Coplan Harrison
 Institution:  Harvard University & Howard Hughes Medical Institute
 Year Elected:  1997
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  206. Physiology, Biophysics, and Pharmacology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1943
Stephen Harrison is a world leader in understanding virus structure and in probing the relationship between structure and function of complex protein assemblies. He has devised innovative methodological enhancements of X-ray crystallography to determine the detailed molecular structures of viruses, cell-surface receptors, and DNA-protein complexes. His pioneering studies of small plant viruses at atomic dimensions revealed the basic molecular design of a large class of RNA viruses of plants, insects, and vertebrates. This work, and his subsequent studies of many other viruses, allowed Dr. Harrison to formulate principles that govern viral structure, assembly, stability, cellular attachment, and fusion. This information is fundamental to understanding viral disease and to the design of antiviral drugs and vaccines. Similarly, Dr. Harrison's X-ray crystallographic studies of the structures of DNA-protein complexes revealed important molecular mechanisms in the control of gene activity. Dr. Harrison earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1967. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1971 and is currently director of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics at Harvard Medical School and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine at Children's Hospital, Boston. He won the Welch Award in Chemistry in 2015 and the Rosenstiel Award for Basic Medical Research in 2018.
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