William Astbury commemorated with Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque

William Astbury, the pioneering University of Leeds scientist who made the first steps towards discovering the structure of DNA, is to be honoured by a Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque.

The plaque, which has generously been sponsored by the Thackray Museum, will be unveiled today on Astbury's former Headingley home, in the presence of his family and representatives of Leeds Civic Trust, the Thackray Museum and the University of Leeds. The plaque is located on Kirkstall Lane, Headingley (opposite the Cricket Ground).

Astbury was one of the fathers of a field known as molecular biology and is best known for his ground-breaking use of x-rays to explore the structures of proteins, hair and wool fibres. This work formed the basis for many modern research techniques for diseases such as Alzheimer's and the legacy of his research lives on to this day through the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds. 

An exhibition entitled 'Hair Splitting Images - How William Astbury's X-Ray Vision Changed the World' which explores the medical aspects of Astbury's work is currently being held at the Thackray Museum (26th June - 2nd January). This is a joint exhibition with the University's Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. They have also placed an exhibition in the Brotherton Library foyer called 'X-ray Marks the Spot: William Astbury and the Birth of Molecular Biology at Leeds.' Those wishing to find out more about the joint exhibition can visit http://www.leeds.ac.uk/heritage/Astbury/

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