RNA research pioneer Sidney Altman is dead

Dr. Sidney Altman, joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 for his work on RNA, died on April 5 at the age of 82.

Born in Montreal, the researcher spent much of his career as a biology professor at Yale University in Connecticut.

He is best known for pioneering medical research on RNA, especially on their catalytic properties.

His discoveries have therefore enabled major advances, including the creation of RNA-based vaccines, a process found in the vaccines against COVID-19 from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna.

Mr. Altman had recently joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal as a visiting professor. It was the first time that a Quebec university had recruited a Nobel Prize winner to teach within its walls.

He was also a professor at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM).

“Although we were unable to have the pleasure of physically welcoming him within our walls, we have the painful feeling of having lost a friend, as well as of course a man of exceptional intellectual and human caliber,” said said Thursday Dr. Jean-François Côté, president and interim scientific director of the IRCM.


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