Former Howard Hughes Medical Institute president to speak at Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium

Dr. Thomas Cech will deliver the 2nd annual Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium lecture on Wednesday, March 14.

Former Howard Hughes Medical Institute president to speak at Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium click to enlarge Dr. Thomas Cech

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

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - On Wednesday, March 14, Dr. Thomas Cech, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the former president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will deliver the 2nd annual Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium lecture.

The lecture, “Crawling out of the RNA world: ribozymes, telomerase and other non-coding RNA,” will be presented from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Medical Biomolecular Research Building (MBRB) Auditorium 2204.

Dr. Cech was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the catalytic properties of RNA. Using Tetrahymena thermophila, a single-celled pond organism, Cech’s research group demonstrated that RNA cut and rejoined chemical bonds in the absence of other proteins. This was the first finding showing that RNA participates in cellular reactions, rather than simply serving as a passive carrier of genetic information. His lab now studies the functions and regulation of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains the ends of chromosomes.

The lecture will be followed by the 2nd Annual Postdoctoral Research Poster Forum in the MBRB hall and lobby from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The annual Nobel Laureate symposia were instigated by Dr. Oliver Smithies, the Nobel Laureate and Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Smithies bequeathed a portion of his Noble Prize award to the university in order to sponsor events that will expose young researchers to high caliber scientists.

The symposium host is the UNC School of Medicine. The symposium sponsors are: the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Triangle Community Foundation (Susan K. Fellner and Thomas H. Maren); and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Learn more at: www.med.unc.edu/smithies-nobel-symposium

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