Lila Gierasch Honored With a Lifetime Achievement Award From the American Peptide Society

Lila Gierasch, Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has been named the recipient of the Merrifield Award, the lifetime achievement award of he American Peptide Society. She will receive the award at the society’s annual meeting in Monterey, California, this June.

Dr. Gierasch began her academic career in 1974 at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She moved to the University of Delaware in 1979 where she rose to the rank of full professor. In 1988, she was named the Robert A. Welch Chair in Biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she founded the graduate program in molecular biophysics. She came to the University of Massachusetts in 1994 to lead the chemistry department. She later served as head of the biochemistry department from 1999 to 2005.

As a researcher, Dr. Gierasch focuses on protein folding, which is how an amino acid sequence determines the three-dimensional structure of a protein. Her work earned her Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry from the American Chemical Society in 2018. In 2016, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Sciences. In 2014, she was named to the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils.

Dr. Gierasch holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University.

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