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Anders Liljas

Professor Emeritus

Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology

Phone: +46 247 10730  
Mobile phone: +46 703 491 622



I was born in Falun Sweden 1939. I received my education in Uppsala, primarily in mathematics and chemistry. I obtained my Fil. Dr. degree 1971 in Uppsala on the first Swedish high resolution protein structure, that of human carbonic anhydrase II at 2 Å resolution. I then spent two years as a postdoc in Michael Rossmann’s laboratory working mostly on lactate dyhydrogenase. Another part of the work with Michael was writing several reviews.

After returning to Uppsala I joined the new department of Molecular Biology where I already 1971 had become docent. Charles Kurland was in charge of the department and the ribosome and the translation system was in focus. I learnt the problems of a new field as well as new techniques. The first structure of a ribosomal component was first determined in 1980 when the C-terminal domain of the ribosomal protein L12 was studied by X-ray crystallography. It was only a small piece, but it provided the first glimpse into the complicated machinery of protein synthesis.

1988 I became professor of Molecular Biophysics at Lund University. My move was very much coupled with the potential to develop a Swedish synchrotron capable to produce high intensity X-ray radiation. After some years this matured into MAX-II, which has been a workhorse for many groups including our department. In Lund strong collaborations with groups from Pushchino, Russia, was developed. The structures of several ribosomal proteins were determined, but also that of elongation factor G (EF-G). In collaboration with Akira Kaji we could also determine the structure of ribosome recycling factor (RRF). Both EF-G and RRF seemed to mimic tRNA.

After my mandatory retirement I have focused on writing. A ”Textbook of Structural Biology” appeared in February 2009 in collaboration with several other authors. Now I am rewriting my book on ”Structural Aspects of Protein Synthesis” (2004) now with Måns Ehrenberg as coauthor.

Memberships, committees, etc. (selection)
    Member of The Royal Physiographic Society, Lund, 1995-
    Member of European Molecular Biology Organization, EMBO 1996-
    Member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm 1997-

    Nobel Prize Committee for Chemistry 1995-1998, 2001-2008
    Chairperson for the Aminoff Prize committee, KVA 2001-2007
    Chairperson for the Max Perutz prize, ECA 2003-2006
    Deputy chairman of the board of the MAX laboratory 1998 - 2005
    Co-founder and Chairman of Board, SARomics Biostructures

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