Listen to Lewis Thomas Prize Winner, Martin Rees, Discuss the Universe

SIR MARTIN REES is Royal Society Professor at Cambridge University, Fellow of King’s College, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, a Fellow of the Royal Society and outgoing President of the Royal Society during it’s 360th anniversary year. He was previously Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge, having been elected to this chair at the age of thirty, succeeding Fred Hoyle. He has originated many key cosmological ideas: for example, he was the first to suggest that the fantastically energetic cores of quasars may be powered by giant black holes. For the last twenty years, he has directed a wide-ranging research program at Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy.   (Edge the Third Culture).  Listen to him discuss advances in cosmology in recent years, and how they have lead him to his idea for his next book.   Martin Rees is The Rockefeller University 2009 winner of the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.

Francisco J. Ayala Awarded 2010 Templeton Prize

Francisco J. Ayala  has won the 2010 Templeton Prize.   Dr. Ayala is an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two.   

In nominating Ayala for the Prize, Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, recounted the broad influence of Ayala’s scientific teaching and writings, including more than 1,000 papers and 35 books, adding, “A pervasive message of several of these publications is that science is a way of knowing, but it is not the only way. The significance and purpose of the world and human life, as well as matters concerning moral or religious values, transcend science.”

Recommended Readings: David Levy, Ph.D

Friday Lecture Series

Non-canonical Functions of STAT3

David Levy, Ph.D., D.Ch.

Dr. Louis A. Schneider Professor of Molecular Pathology, New York University

March 26, 2010

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Gough DJ,* Corlett A,* Schlessinger K, Wegrezyn J, Larner AC, Levy DE. Mitochondrial Stat3 Supports Ras-Dependent Oncogenic Transformation. Science. 2009 Jun 26; 324(5935): 1713-16

Chou WC, Levy DE, Lee CK. STAT3 positively regulates an early step in B-cell development. Blood. 2006; 108: 3005–11

Chiarle R, Simmons WJ, Cai H, Dhall G, Zamo A, Raz R, Karras J, Levy DE, Inghirami G. Stat3 is required for ALK-mediated lymphomagenesis and provides a viable therapeutic target. Nature Med. 2005; 11: 623–9

Schlessinger K, Levy DE. Malignant transformation but not normal cell growth depend on STAT3. Cancer Res. 2005; 65: 5828–34

Gimeno R, Lee CK, Schindler C, Levy DE. Stat1 and Stat2 but not Stat3 Arbitrate Contradictory Growth Signals Elicited by alpha/beta Interferon in T Lymphocytes. Mol. Cell. Biol. 2005; 25: 5456–65

Recommended Readings: Anthony Leung Ph.D. April 12, 2010

Monday Lecture Series

Poly(ADP-ribose) Regulates microRNA Activity and

Stress Responses in the Cytoplasm

Anthony Leung, Ph.D.,

Senior Postdoctoral Fellow

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Special Fellow of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 

April 12, 2010

Welch Hall,  Level Two

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m

Recommended Readings:

Pothof J, Verkaik NS, Hoeijmakers JHJ, et al.  2009.    MicroRNA responses and stress granule formation modulate the DNA damage response.  CELL CYCLE    8(21):3462-3468   

Pothof J, Verkaik NS, van IJcken W, et al.   2009.   MicroRNA-mediated gene silencing modulates the UV-induced DNA-damage response.   EMBO JOURNAL   28(14):2090-2099

Andersson MK, Stahlberg A, Arvidsson Y, et al.  2008.   The multifunctional FUS, EWS and TAF15 proto-oncoproteins show cell type-specific expression patterns and involvement in cell spreading and stress response.   BMC CELL BIOLOGY   9(Article No. 37)

 Leung AKL.  2008.   MicroRNA and stress: Cellular and molecular perspectives.    BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY    63(7): 52S-53S   Supplement: Suppl. S   

Leung AKL, Calabrese JM, Sharp PA.  2006.   Quantitative analysis of Argonaute protein reveals microRNA-dependent localization to stress granules.   PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA    103(48):18125-18130   

Balzer E, Moss EG.  2007.  Localization of the developmental timing regulator Lin28 to mRNP complexes, P-bodies and stress granules.     RNA BIOLOGY    4(1):16-25   

Recommended Readings: Marvin Minsky, Ph.D.

Friday Lecture Series

Jerry A. Weisbach Memorial Lecture

Marvin Minsky, Ph. D.,

Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

March 19, 2010

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

McCarthy, J., M. Minsky, A. Sloman, L. Gong, T. Lau, L. Morgenstern, E. T. Mueller, D. Riecken, M. Singh, and P. Singh. 2002. An architecture of diversity for commonsense reasoning. IBM Systems Journal 41, (3): 530-539. Request this article from the Library

Minsky, M. 2007. 1956-1966 how did it all begin? – issues then and now. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) 4314 LNAI, : 437-438

Minsky, M. 2007. Into the mind [10]. Commentary 124, (2): 12+14-15. Request this article from the Library

Minsky, M. 2000. Commonsense-based interfaces. Communications of the ACM 43, (8): 67-73. Request this article from the Library

Minsky, M., P. Singh, and A. Sloman. 2004. The St. Thomas common sense symposium: Designing architectures for human-level intelligence. AI Magazine 25, (2): 113-124 Request this article from the Library

Minsky, M. 2000. Time for an aspirin [4]. Nature 403, (6770): 592

One Gene Controls Limb Regeneration?

A quest that began over a decade ago with a chance observation has reached a milestone: the identification of a gene that may regulate regeneration in mammals. The absence of this single gene, called p21, confers a healing potential in mice long thought to have been lost through evolution and reserved for creatures like flatworms, sponges, and some species of salamander.  A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides evidence that mice lacking the p21 gene gain the ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissue.

Genes linked to Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s

University of California Irvine biologists Robert Steele and Hans Bode, along with nine other UCI scientists and an international team of researchers, have describes the genome sequence of  Hydra, an organism that continues to advance research on regeneration, stem cells and patterning.

The team discovered Hydra to have about the same number of genes as humans, sharing many of the same ones. Surprisingly, they also found genes linked with Huntington’s disease and with the beta-amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer’s disease — two areas in which UCI has traditionally strong research programs — suggesting the possible use of Hydra as a research model for these two diseases.   Report of their discoveries was reported March 14  in NATURE.

The Value of Genetic and Genomic Technologies Workshop

The National Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science will hold a workshop on March 22, 2010 exploring the value of genetic and genomic technologies.   Click here to register for this meeting.
When:  March 22, 2010 (8:00 AM)
Where: Beckman Center • 100 Academy Drive, Irvine, CA 92617
Topics:    Biomedical and Health Research, Public Health
Activity: Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health
Board:      Board on Health Sciences Policy

A public workshop will be held to examine the perceived value of genetic and genomic technologies, both present and future, in clinical practice from different stakeholder perspectives.

This workshop will build on the concepts of clinical utility, personal utility, public utility, and economic value, and explore these different types of value through questions such as:  

-How do different stakeholders define the value of genetic and genomic technologies?   

-How do stakeholders evaluate the weight of one kind of value in relation to another? 

-How do people assess relative values to make health care decisions?

-How do these types of value relate, or not relate, to the monetary cost of the technologies? 

Presentations and discussions will explore the concept of value in regards to genomics and genetics, and how it affects the view of stakeholders and the way they make decisions about using these technologies. Stakeholders, including patients, payers, policy makers, and others will present their perspectives.

Recommended Readings: Michel C. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph. D.

Friday Lecture Series

Ph. D. Recruitment Lecture

Antibodies in Immunity and Cancer

Michel C. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D.,

Sherman Fairchild Professor, senior physician and head, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Rockefeller University;investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

March 12, 2010

3:45 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Refreshments, 3:15 p.m., Abby Lounge)

Caspary Auditorium

Recommended Articles:

Callén, E., M. C. Nussenzweig, and A. Nussenzweig. 2007. Breaking down cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair during antigen receptor gene assembly. Oncogene 26, (56): 7759-7764

Dudziak, D., A. O. Kamphorst, G. F. Heidkamp, V. R. Buchholz, C. Trumpfheller, S. Yamazaki, C. Cheong, et al. 2007. Differential antigen processing by dendritic cell subsets in vivo. Science 315, (5808): 107-111

Jankovic, M., A. Nussenzweig, and M. C. Nussenzweig. 2007. Antigen receptor diversification and chromosome translocations. Nature immunology 8, (8): 801-808

Mietzner, B., M. Tsuiji, J. Scheid, K. Velinzon, T. Tiller, K. Abraham, J. B. Gonzalez, et al. 2008. Autoreactive IgG memory antibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus arise from nonreactive and polyreactive precursors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105, (28): 9727-9732

Tiller, T., E. Meffre, S. Yurasov, M. Tsuiji, M. C. Nussenzweig, and H. Wardemann. 2008. Efficient generation of monoclonal antibodies from single human B cells by single cell RT-PCR and expression vector cloning. Journal of immunological methods 329, (1-2): 112-124

Wardemann, H., and Nussenzweig, M. C. 2007. B-cell self-tolerance in humans. Advances in Immunology 95: 83-110

Changes in Gut Microbiota Linked to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

A study published online March 4, 2010 in Science Express reports the discovery that gut microbes may alter behavior and promote obesity and metabolic syndrome.  HHMI investigator Rob Knight at the University of Colorado did the analysis that led to this conclusion.  His study also showed that these bacteria may be transmissible between people.