May 11, 2010
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - Jack Szostak, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine, will speak to the public at a workshop and symposium at Georgia State University on May 25.
Szostak's keynote lecture, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Georgia State University and the Center for Workshops in Chemical Sciences (CWCS) program, will be held at 4 p.m. in Room 220 of the Urban Life building, located at the intersection of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Szostak is a professor of genetics at Harvard University, and an investigator for Massachusetts General Hospital and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Szostak's lecture is entitled "Reconstructing the First Cells." His current research involves trying to build a synthetic cellular system that is able to undergo Darwinian evolution.
"We're very excited about his visit," said Zhen Huang, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Georgia State, who trained in Szostak's laboratory during the 1990s. "By having him as the keynote speaker, along with other nine outstanding scholars, we can say that this will dramatically increase our GSU visibility in nucleic acid research."
Szostak shared the Nobel Prize with Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California San Francisco, and Carol W. Greider of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They were honored for their work on repetitive strings of DNA called telomeres. Located at the end of every chromosome, telomeres protect chromosomes from damage.
Huang, a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar, worked in Szostak's lab from 1994 to 1998, where he learned new techniques, theories and a new research area in nucleic acids and RNA molecular biology.
"He was very patient with his students and post-docs, and allowed them to develop at their own pace," Huang said. "I was very fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with him and to be able to slowly establish myself in a new research area."
The workshop and symposium will feature 10 leading scholars in the field, with lectures and laboratory sessions to be held May 23-28. The CWCS provides nationwide workshops for college and university faculty that are designed to update their curriculum and to introduce new techniques for teaching their students.
A reception will follow the event. For more information, contact Karen Brown at email@example.com or 404-413-5546.