(Cech, Tom - 2017) -- Hazel Barnes Prize uri icon



  • Colorado’s first Nobel Prize winner, Thomas R. Cech directs CU’s BioFrontiers Institute, which draws upon resources and talents from across the university system to develop technological solutions to human health problems that transcend traditional academic and institutional boundaries. He shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery that RNA in living cells not only encodes information but also can function as a catalyst. His discovery laid the foundation for advances in molecular genetics and gave rise to an expanding appreciation of the roles of RNA in biology.
    Cech’s role in teaching is equally impressive. He routinely teaches general chemistry to freshmen, using “clickers” and in-class demonstrations to encourage student interaction. He engages undergraduate learning assistants to help fellow students master the material while also honing their own teaching skills. And he has led the development of an innovative graduate student education program at BioFrontiers called the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology (IQ Biology) PhD certificate program. The IQ Biology program currently has 38 active doctoral students, who can choose to work with mentors in 13 departments.

award or honor for

  • Cech, Tom  Distinguished Professor, Nobel Laureate and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

year awarded

  • 2017