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Nobel Laureate in Chemistry visits Wits

- Wits University

The Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) hosted Dr Robert Huber, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

Huber won the Nobel prize in 2988 together with H. Michel and J. Deisenhofer.

At Wits he presented a lecture titled Protease control in health and disease and my experience with its translation into practice and business on 27 November 2014.

Huber was a member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and Director at the Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie until his retirement in 2005. He has made major contributions to the understanding of the structure and function of biological macromolecules.

He was hosted by Professor Heini Dirr from the Wits Faculty of Science and spoke at the SBIMB to a multi-disciplinary audience of over 60 individuals.

In the lecture he spanned the breadth of his career from his early successes and the omission of developing and patenting his findings, just to watch others reap the benefits, to the establishment of companies that now focus on proof of concept for commercial development, right through to selling licenses to big pharma.

During his lecture Dr Huber paid tribute to the ground breaking work of Professor Dirr on elucidating the structure of the glutathione S-transferase enzyme. Huber was an engaging speaker who left his audience with a sense of what is possible and how scientific research can really make a difference.

"We need to collaborate effectively, be creative and see the bigger picture. Science is no longer a solitary pursuit and the application and translation of our research requires multi-talented and multi-skilled teams," he said.