Ronald T. Raines

Ronald T. Raines

Fellow: Awarded 2001
Field of Study: Molecular and Cellular Biology

Competition: US & Canada

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ronald T. Raines is the Firmenich Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was born in Montclair, New Jersey, and received Sc.B. degrees in chemistry and biology at MIT, performing undergraduate research with Christopher T. Walsh. Raines received A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry at Harvard University for research done with Jeremy R. Knowles. He was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow with William J. Rutter (1962 Guggenheim Fellow) in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Raines then joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he became the Henry Lardy Professor of Biochemistry, Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Biology, and a Professor of Chemistry. He was a Visiting Associate at Caltech in 2009. In 2017, he returned to MIT.

Raines is an expert on the chemical basis for protein structure and function. His efforts have led to an RNA-cleaving enzyme that is in a multi-site human clinical trial as an anti-cancer agent, revealed that unappreciated forces—the n-to-pi* interaction and C5 hydrogen bond—stabilize all proteins, created hyperstable and human-scale synthetic collagens; and developed processes to synthesize proteins, catalyze their folding, and facilitate their entry into human cells, and to convert crude biomass into useful fuels and chemicals. He is an author of over 500 papers and abstracts, delivered over 300 invited lectures in over 25 countries, and supervised over 50 doctoral theses. He holds over 50 U.S. patents, and co-founded Quintessence Biosciences, Inc. (as a 2001 Guggenheim Fellow), Hyrax Energy, Inc., and Ghost Proteins, Inc., which are developing inventions from his laboratory.

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