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April 17, 2019

IST Austria Professor Leonid Sazanov elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

Sazanov advanced understanding of structure and mechanism of an important respiratory enzyme

Prof. Leonid Sazanov © IST Austria

The Royal Society, the national Academy of Sciences in the UK, has elected IST Austria Professor Leonid Sazanov as a member of their Fellowship. According to the Royal Society, the structural biologist was chosen for “advancing understanding of the structure and mechanism of the respiratory enzyme NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase, (complex I). His efforts have opened the door for understanding the bases of a range of human diseases arising from mutations in complex I.”

Leonid Sazanov: “I am extremely honored that the Royal Society recognizes my efforts. Among the members of the Royal Society are several role models for me, now being part of this distinguished group is a sign of great appreciation of my scientific work.”

Leonid Sazanov is a structural biologist and biochemist. He explores structure and function of large membrane protein complexes from the domain of bioenergetics. Using the bacterial enzyme as a model, Sazanov discovered the first atomic structure of respiratory complex I, an entry point into the respiratory chain. This redox chain of enzymes is responsible for most of the energy production in the cell. Also, Sazanov determined the first complete atomic structure of the even larger mammalian mitochondrial complex I, using new cryo-EM methods. Prior to joining IST Austria in 2015, the scientist of British nationality was tenured program leader at the Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK.

The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest national scientific academy (founded 1660) in continuous existence. The Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.


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