Yale chemist to inaugurate Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium

Dr. Smithies, a Nobel Laureate, will soon begin inspiring a new generation of scientists by using money that came with his prize to fund annual symposia at UNC featuring lectures by other Nobel Laureates.

Yale chemist to inaugurate Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium
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Dr. Oliver Smithies

Media contact: Les Lang, (919) 966-9366, llang@med.unc.edu

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - During his undergraduate years at Oxford University, Oliver Smithies attended a series of lectures by world-renowned chemist Linus Pauling. “It was tremendously inspiring. People were sitting in the aisles to listen to him,” he said.

Dr. Smithies, the Nobel Laureate and Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will soon begin inspiring a new generation of scientists by using money that came with his prize to fund annual symposia at UNC featuring lectures by other Nobel Laureates.  The events are aimed at highlighting the importance of postdoctoral scholars, allowing them to present their research and interact with high caliber scientists.

On March 8, 2011, Thomas A. Steitz, PhD, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Professor of Chemistry at Yale University, will deliver the inaugural lecture at the annual Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium.

The lecture, “From the structure and function of the ribosome to new antibiotics,” will be presented from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Medical Biomolecular Research Building (MBRB) Auditorium 2204.

Tom Steitz is one of three winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work describing the structure and function of the ribosome, an enormously complex cellular ensemble of numerous proteins and RNA components. Dr. Steitz and colleagues built upon research of the past half century to describe in minute detail the architecture of this protein-making machinery, the key to the function of all life.

The lecture will be preceded by the 1st Annual Postdoctoral Research Poster Forum in the MBRB hall and lobby from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Also on March 8, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., in the MBRB Auditorium 2204, Joan Steitz , PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale School of Medicine, will present the Mary Ellen Jones Distinguished Women in Science Lecture, “Noncoding RNAs: with a viral twist.”

Dr. Steitz is best known for discovering and defining the function of small ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which occur only in higher cells and organisms. Her current research interests are in the multiple roles played by noncoding RNA-protein complexes in gene expression in vertebrate cells.

The following day, March 9, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., again in the MBRB Auditorium 2204, Dr. Joan Steitz,  will present a Women in Science Mentoring Talk: “Beyond bias and barriers: challenges for women in science.”

Symposium sponsors are the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics; Biological and Biomedical Science Program (BBSP); The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs; and UNC Postdoc Association (PDA).

More information about this event…



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