2023 RNA Society Lifetime Achievement in Science Award Winner
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Dr. Marlene Belfort is recognized for her long history of innovative and foundational discoveries regarding intron biology. She discovered the first intron in prokaryotes and demonstrated that prokaryotic introns are both self-splicing ribozymes and mobile genetic elements. Her work revealed fundamental insights into how these introns are spliced, how they invade genes and how they are removed from the genome to maintain genome integrity. Her studies also provided evidence that group II introns were ancestors of spliceosomal introns and yielded meaningful structural insights into their ribonucleoprotein complexes. 

Marlene is a Distinguished Professor, Director of the Life Sciences Initiative and Senior Advisor of the RNA Institute, University at Albany. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and has received the Alice C. Evans Award from the American Society of Microbiology and the Mid-Career Leadership Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Marlene was a founding member of the RNA Society, a member of the inaugural Board of Directors and served as an organizer of the annual meeting. She is also recognized for her leadership in building an RNA community at the University at Albany, for her mentoring of younger scientists and for her dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion in science.