Alasdair Receives Queen’s Honors

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Alasdair McDowall, the first manager of the BI Cryo-Electron Microscopy Resource Center and currently the lab manager for Grant Jensen, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia by Her Majesty HRH Queen Elizabeth II in the 2019 Queens Birthday Honors list. Appointment to the Order of Australia confers the nation’s highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service among its citizens.

The citation recognizes Alasdair’s “significant service to science, particularly in the field of electron microscopy.”

Nobel Contributions

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The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.” One of our own, Alasdair McDowall, was at the front lines working together with Jacques to develop vitrification as a way to preserve samples in their native state for EM. Caltech Magazine featured an interview with Alasdair in the Spring 2018 edition. Read more here.

Publications from Jacques and Alasdair leading to the Nobel Prize:

  1. Dubochet, J., and McDowall, A. W. (1981) Vitrification of pure water for electron microscopy. J. Microsc. 124, 3-4
  2. Dubochet, J., Chang, J. J., Freeman, R., Lepault, J., and McDowall, A. W. (1982) Frozen aqueous suspensions. Ultramicroscopy 10, 55-61
  3. Dubochet, J., Lepault, J., Freeman, R., Berriman, J. A., and Homo, J. C. (1982) Electron microscopy of frozen water and aqueous solutions. J. Microsc. 128, 219-237
  4. Lepault, J., Booy, F. P., and Dubochet, J. (1983) Electron microscopy of frozen biological suspensions. J. Microsc. 129, 89-102
  5. Adrian, M., Dubochet, J., Lepault, J., and McDowall, A. W. (1984) Cryo-electron microscopy of viruses. Nature 308, 32-36
  6. Dubochet, J., Adrian, M., Lepault, J., and McDowall, A. W. (1985) Emerging techniques: Cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified biological specimens. Trends Biochem. Sci. 10, 143-146
  7. Dubochet, J., Adrian, M., Chang, J.-J., Homo, J.-C., Lepault, J., McDowall, A. W., and Schultz, P. (1988) Cryo-electron microscopy of vitrified specimens. Q. Rev. Biophys. 21, 129-228