Rossmann to present Sigma Xi lecture

September 29, 2010

Purdue's own Michael Rossmann, whose research group has contributed pioneering knowledge of the structure of viruses, will present a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday (Oct. 5).

The lecture, titled "The Life Cycle of West Nile Virus," is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center. A reception will follow in the Stewart Center Gallery.

Rossmann is the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His group uses X-ray crystallography, cryo electron microscopy and molecular biology to study the three-dimensional structures of viruses and their component proteins. The goal is to determine how these molecules or molecular assemblies function. In particular, the group is studying various animal and bacterial viruses.

In 1985, he became the first scientist to build a model of human rhinovirus-14, HRV-14, one of about 100 known cold virus strains. His group also has achieved breakthroughs on the way antiviral agents bind to the virus to prevent it from reproducing and the structure of the cell's receptor that binds to a cold virus, among other things.

Sigma Xi is an elected society of nearly 75,000 researchers in science and engineering. It sponsors programs on scientific issues and makes grants to young researchers. The Purdue chapter was founded in 1909. Recent Sigma Xi lecturers at Purdue include Francis Collins, Gebisa Ejeta and Mina Bissell.