The TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences 2019

Featured Speaker - Dr Helen Hobbs

Lecture - "Genetic Disorders of Dietary Excess: Getting to the Heart of the Matter"


February 11, 2019. 4.30 p.m. Savitribai Phule Auditorium (Formerly DST), University of Hyderabad Campus.


February 13, 2019. 4.30 p.m. St. John’s Auditorium (Opp. BDA Complex).

New Delhi:

February 15, 2019. 4.30 p.m. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Auditorium, JNU Campus.

Breakthrough Prize Laureate Helen Hobbs was the 2019 Speaker of the TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences

Dr Helen H. Hobbs, Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was the 2019 Speaker of the TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences. As part of this lecture series, now in its ninth edition, she gave lectures in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and New Delhi. Admission to the lectures was free and open to all.

The topic of her lecture was:
‘Genetic Disorders of Dietary Excess: Getting to the Heart of the Matter’

Professor Hobbs’ work is focussed on searching for genetic factors that contribute to, and protect us from, diseases arising from dietary excess as food has become easily available and human beings more sedentary. In 1999, along with her colleagues, Professor Hobbs established the Dallas Heart Study (DHS) aimed at identifying factors that contribute to coronary heart disease and metabolic disorders. This 3500+ population group study showed that mutations in the protein PCSK9 result in lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the cholesterol in the blood that leads to atherosclerosis or the clogging of arteries.

These observations led to the rapid development of two FDA-approved, anti-PCSK9 antibodies for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and the prevention of coronary atherosclerosis.

More recently, Dr Hobbs’ team has identified sequence variations that are associated with the full spectrum of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (FLD), including steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Dr Hobbs and her team found that mutations in the protein PNPLA3 were strongly linked to this condition. Yet another screen showed that a mutation in TM6SF2 led to an increase in fat content. Dr Hobbs’ team has shown that this protein helps the liver secrete fat into the blood in triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

Dr Hobbs attended Stanford University and Case Western Reserve Medical School before training in internal medicine at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr Joseph Goldstein and Dr Michael Brown, she joined the faculty of UT Southwestern. Dr Hobbs was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2004 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

Awards and Honours

  • 2018 Fondation Lefoulon-Delalande Grand Prix Award
  • 2018 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine, American Society for Clinical Investigation & Harrington Discovery Institute
  • 2016 Passano Foundation Award (with Jonathan Cohen)
  • 2016 Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences
  • 2012 International Society of Atherosclerosis Prize
  • 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association

Professional Activities

  • 2017-Present Chair, Gruber Genetics Prize Selection Committee
  • 2010-Present Scientific Committee, Fondation Louis-Jeantet, Geneva
  • 2012-2015 Board of Directors, American Society of Human Genetics
  • 2012-present Board of Directors, Pfizer Corporation

Lecture Schedule

Date, Time, and Venue: Introduction by:

February 11, 2019, 4.30 p.m.
Savitribai Phule Auditorium
University of Hyderabad Campus

Dr Jyotsna Dhawan

Chief Scientist
Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology


February 13, 2019, 4.30 p.m.
St. John’s Auditorium
St. John’s Hospital Campus

Dr Anura V. Kurpad

Professor of Physiology
St. John’s Medical College

New Delhi

February 15, 2019, 4.30 p.m.
All India Council for Technical Education
(AICTE) Auditorium
JNU Campus

Professor K. VijayRaghavan

Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA)
Government of India

The TNQ Distinguished Lectures in the Life Sciences

Established in 2008, the lectureship series is sponsored by TNQ Technologies. The annual event aims to bring internationally renowned scientists face-to-face with the Indian scientific community.

Previous Speakers:

  • 2008: David Baltimore, President Emeritus and Robert Andrew Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco for their work on viruses and cancer.
  • 2009: Elizabeth Blackburn, former President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their research on telomeres.
  • 2012: Shinya Yamanaka, an adult stem cell researcher with Kyoto University and UCSF. He and John Gurdon were awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells.
  • 2014: Huda Y. Zoghbi, Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr Zoghbi is known for her study of Rett syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxias. She was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in 2017.
  • 2015: Eric S. Lander, a mathematician-turned-biologist-turned-geneticist, who is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He was awarded the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in 2013.
  • 2016: Karl Deisseroth, a Stanford University neuroscientist and psychologist who pioneered the groundbreaking technique known as optogenetics, which has revolutionized our ability to visualize and manipulate brain circuits. He was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in 2016.
  • 2017: Mary-Claire King, a University of Washington geneticist who pioneered the idea that breast cancer could be a heritable disease. She was awarded the 2018 Shaw Prize in Medicine.
  • 2018: Dr David J. Anderson, a California Institute of Technology neurobiologist and leader in the neurobiological foundations of emotion.

About TNQ

Chennai-based TNQ Technologies is a publishing technology and services company founded in 1998. TNQ’s technology products and services are widely used by leading publishers of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) books and journals worldwide. They form a comprehensive suite covering authoring, manuscript submission, peer review, proofing, and paging.

AuthorCafe, a knowledge management system for academia was launched in April 2017.

In 2016, TNQ announced the annual Inspiring Science Award for the best published paper in the life sciences by an author at the doctoral/post-doctoral level from India. The selection is made by an eminent jury and is announced at the lectures each year.

Today, TNQ has around 2,100 employees, almost all of them with a strong educational background in science. The company's mission is to provide the highest quality content for both print and web, using cutting-edge technologies and creative solutions.

TNQ is an equal opportunity employer with regard to gender, religion, caste, and ethnicity. The Company has a firm commitment to employee and community welfare and to the world of science in India and its development.