Eric Westhof was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1948. He carried out his undergraduate studies in physics at Liège University. He received a EURATOM grant to pursue graduate studies at Regensburg University, Germany, in ESR of free radicals and NMR of nucleosides. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1974. In 1977, first as a FULBRIGHT-HAYS Research Fellow, later as Research Associate, he joined the Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin (Madison, USA) to train with M. Sundaralingam in crystallography of nucleic acids. In 1981, with a EMBO post-doctoral fellowship, he moved to Strasbourg to work with Dino Moras on the crystallographic refinement of yeast aspartic acid transfer RNA crystals. In 1988, he became Professor of Structural Biochemistry at the University of Strasbourg.
Since 2006, he is Director of the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire and head of the unit « Architecture et Réactivité de l'ARN » of the CNRS. His research activities are centered on the relationships between sequences, architectures, evolution and functions of RNA molecules, especially those with catalytic activity. The tools used are X-ray crystallography, bioinformatics, sequence comparisons, three-dimensional modelling and molecular dynamics simulations.
He has published some 340 publications. He is executive editor of « RNA Journal », « Nucleic Acids Research », and the « Journal of Molecular Recognition ». He is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France (1995), EMBO (1998), Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher LEOPOLDINA (2000), Academia Europaea (2001), a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences (1999) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2001).Additionnal information is available here.