Thomas Robert Cech
President, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder. Research in RNA and DNA biochemistry, and molecular biology. He and his research group discovered ribozymes, catalytic RNA molecules, in 1982. They identified the catalytic protein subunit of telomerase, which replicates chromosome ends, in 1997. Current research concerns telomerase and x-ray crystallography of RNA. Public policy interests include science education, university conflict of interest policy, and multidisciplinary research.