Christine Guthrie, a brilliant RNA biologist, beloved mentor and UW-Madison Genetics alumnus, passed away on July 1, 2022, at age 77, after a protracted illness. Among the most influential RNA biologists of her time, Christine and her research group at UCSF made fundamental discoveries that laid the foundation for our understanding of the process by which the spliceosome removes introns from mRNA precursors. Beyond science, she leaves a legacy that underscores the crucial nature of a constructive and collegial environment for fostering the best in trainees and colleagues. Her passing represents a profound loss to the scientific community.
Christine Guthrie was born Christine Kampen on April 27, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York, to Irene (Trepel) Kampen and Owen Kampen. After receiving a BS in zoology at the University of Michigan in 1966, she pursued a PhD in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the famed ribosome guru Masayasu Nomura. As a graduate student, Christine first used exacting biochemical studies to establish that initiation of bacterial protein synthesis begins on the 30S ribosomal subunit rather than on intact ribosomes. While her 1967 marriage to her high school boyfriend, Stephen Guthrie, did not last, she kept the surname and appeared as Christine Guthrie on her first publication that year.
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