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Alexander Rich

Alexander Rich, MD (American; born c. 1925) is a biologist and biophysicist. He is the William Thompson Sedgwick Professor of Biophysics at MIT (since 1958) and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Rich earned both an A.B. (magna cum laude) and an M.D. (cum laude) from Harvard University. He was a post-doc of Linus Pauling along with James Watson. He has over 600 publications to his name.

Rich is the founder of Alkermes and has been its director since 1987. Dr. Rich is Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Repligen Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Profectus BioSciences, Inc. He also serves on the editorial board of Genomics and the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics.

In 1979, Rich and co-workers at MIT accidentally grew a crystal of Z-DNA.[1] This was the first crystal structure of any form of DNA. After 26 years of attempts, Rich et al. finally crystallised the junction box of B- and Z-DNA. Their results were published in an October 2005 Nature journal.[2] Whenever Z-DNA forms, there must be two junction boxes that allow the flip back to the canonical B-form of DNA.

List of awards and prizes received

  • a member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • a member of the Philosophical Society
  • a member of the French Academy of Sciences
  • a member of the Institute of Medicine.
  • a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of U.S. Genomics, Inc.
  • President Bill Clinton recognized his outstanding scientific achievements with the National Medal of Science in 1995.
  • 2001 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement


  1. ^ Wang AHJ, Quigley GJ, Kolpak FJ, Crawford JL, van Boom JH, Van der Marel G, and Rich A (1979). Molecular structure of a left-handed double helical DNA fragment at atomic resolution. Nature (London) 282:680-686.
  2. ^ Ha SC, Lowenhaupt K, Rich A, Kim YG, and Kim KK (2005). Crystal structure of a junction between B-DNA and Z-DNA reveals two extruded bases. Nature 437:1183-1186.

Selected publications

  • Brown BA II, Lowenhaupt K, Wilbert CM, Hanlon EB, Rich A (2000). The Za domain of the editing enzyme dsRNA adenosine deaminase binds left-handed Z-RNA as well as Z-DNA. Proc Nat'l Acad Sci USA, 97:13531-13586.
  • Kim Y-G, Lowenhaupt K, Maas S, Herbert A, Schwartz T, Rich A (2000). The Zab domain of the human RNA editing enzyme ADAR1 recognizes Z-DNA when surrounded by B-DNA. J Biol Chem, 275:26828-26833.
  • Schwartz T, Rould MA, Lowenhaupt K, Herbert A, Rich A (1999). Crystal structure of the Za domain of the human editing enzyme ADAR1 bound to left-handed Z-DNA. Science, 284:1841-1845.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alexander_Rich". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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