The Max Perutz Fund (UK registered charity number 1129597) promotes and advances education in research in molecular biology and allied biomedical sciences at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).
It provides annual student and postdoc prizes, funds several studentships and seminars, and supports the purchase of vital research equipment.
The Max Perutz Fund was set up in 1980 in honour of Max Perutz, co-founder of the LMB.
The charity incorporates several funds available to support work in the LMB. This includes donations in honour of LMB scientists Fred Sanger and César Milstein, and donations for specific purposes. The following funds are held within the Max Perutz Fund:
Max Perutz joined J. D. Bernal’s crystallographic lab at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, in 1936, as a graduate student from Vienna. From 1947, his research was funded by the MRC when they established a ‘Research Unit for the Study of the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems’ for which Max and his co-worker John Kendrew were founders. Together, they pioneered the technique of protein crystallography, leading to the elucidation of the first protein structures: myoglobin (John) and haemoglobin (Max). They were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. In the same year, the LMB opened and, as well as being founder and the first Chairman, Max continued his research on protein structures. He retired as Chairman in 1979.
This Fund is used for the annual LMB Student Prizes awarded to promising graduate students who have completed an outstanding piece of research within four years of starting their PhD studies. It is also used for other approved purposes such as attendance at major overseas scientific conferences by students and young scientists within the LMB.
César Milstein was born in Argentina in 1927. After completing PhD’s in both Buenos Aires and Cambridge, and a brief spell of research back in Argentina, he joined the LMB in 1963 and spent the rest of his life here. He developed an early interest in immunology, and at the LMB his research concentrated on antibody structure and diversity. In the early 1970s, with his post-doc Georges Köhler, they developed the technique to produce monoclonal antibodies, for which they were jointly awarded the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. This technique has been used for diagnostics and developed further by LMB colleagues for therapeutic applications, leading to the creation of several MRC spin-out companies. César continued his research on how somatic mutation arises in immunoglobulin genes. He died in Cambridge in March 2002.
This Fund is used to support a Studentship or a Fellowship to enable a young scientist from South America to undertake research at the LMB.
Geoffrey Grigg Traveling Fellowship
Geoffrey Grigg was an Australian visitor to the LMB with Fred Sanger in 1972-1974 and Greg Winter in 1988, and often visited the LMB, especially in the 1990s. He played a key role in the founding and/or financing of Cambridge Antibody Technology and Domantis, two start-up biotechnology companies based on work originating in the LMB. After his death in 2008, the LMB and the Garvan Institute in Sydney set up a traveling Fellowship to honour his memory, raising money from his friends in Cambridge and Sydney.
The aim of the Fellowship is to expedite short (one to three month) scientific exchange visits between the two institutions to promote closer links between them.
Prospective applicants from the LMB should apply to the Director of the LMB by email to email@example.com at least one month in advance of the proposed trip, and preferably longer. The application should include a brief description (one page) of the proposed project or collaboration, a breakdown of the estimated costs, and notes from their Group Leader and the Garvan host signifying approval. If the application is successful, the Max Perutz Fund will pay some or all of the estimated travel and accommodation costs from funds earmarked for this purpose. Applicants from the Garvan should apply to the Director of the Garvan Institute.
Neuberger Studentship Fund
Michael Neuberger was Deputy Director of the LMB and Head of the PNAC Division. Michael died in October 2013, after several months of serious illness. He was a truly outstanding scientist who worked out the mechanism of somatic hypermutation, which underpins the amazing diversity of antibodies the immune system can generate to combat pathogens and disease. The Max Perutz Fund has honoured his memory by establishing a named PhD studentship based at the LMB in collaboration with Trinity College, Cambridge, for training in fundamental biological and medical research.
In order to be able eventually to establish a rolling studentship in Michael’s memory, it will take substantial funds so we would be very grateful if you would consider donating to this fund.
Brenner Postdoc Prize
Sydney Brenner joined the MRC Research Unit for the Study of the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems (now the LMB) in 1956, after medical studies in South Africa and a PhD in Oxford. His move to Cambridge was partly due to the efforts of Francis Crick and once in Cambridge, Sydney and Francis shared an office and ideas for more than 20 years. They were both interested in unravelling the genetic code and this led to the discovery, largely by Sydney, of messenger RNA in 1961. Sydney then initiated the work on the nematode worm, C. elegans, to study how genes regulate organ development and how cells are programmed to die. For this work Sydney, along with Bob Horvitz and John Sulston, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Sydney was joint Head of the Cell Biology Division, with Francis, from 1963 and Head from 1977-1979. He was the second Director of the LMB from 1979-1986. He left the LMB in 1986 and set up the MRC Unit of Molecular Genetics, and in 1995 he founded The Molecular Sciences Institute and was appointed a Distinguished Professor in the Salk Institute, La Jolla, USA.
The annual Brenner Postdoc Prize for outstanding research was made possible by a generous donation from Royalty Pharma to support career development for exceptional postdocs.
AstraZeneca (formerly MedImmune) Lecture Series
Periodically the LMB hosts an “LMB Named Lecture”, given by eminent scientists from around the world. These LMB Named Lectures are advertised widely throughout the local area and are open to all. The Max Perutz Fund is grateful to AstraZeneca for providing funding for the lecture series. The lectures are held at the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge several times a year and are advertised on the LMB website.
This Fund is used to fund travel grants and for other approved purposes such as the purchase of vital research equipment.