The Cell Press - TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series 2017

Featured Speaker - Mary-Claire King

University of Washington geneticist Dr. Mary-Claire King who pioneered the idea that breast cancer could be a heritable disease, gave free lectures in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata in February 2017. She was the Featured Speaker of the Seventh Annual Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series, aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists to the Indian scientific community.

Professor King may be best known for demonstrating that breast and ovarian cancer can be inherited genetically rather than occurring only by chance or from environmental influences. She and her colleagues pinpointed a gene, BRCA1, which carries mutations that dramatically increase a woman's risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer during her lifetime.

Another seminal contribution from Dr. King's research was the insight that despite dramatic differences in appearance, humans and chimpanzees share 99% of their genetic code, paving the way for greater understanding of how genomes change during evolution and the relationships of humans to other primates.

Professor King's work also crosses into matters of human rights. By pioneering methods of extracting and sequencing maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA, she made it possible for more than 100 children who 'disappeared' during the Argentinian military dictatorship to be reunited with their families. The approaches she developed are now in routine use in forensic science.

In addition to her work on inherited breast and ovarian cancer, Dr King is currently studying the genetic bases of schizophrenia and of severe pediatric disorders. She is the American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. She graduated cum laude with a degree in mathematics from Carleton College, completed her PhD in genetics at the University of California, Berkeley; and was a postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco. She was professor of genetics at the University of California, Berkeley from 1975 until 1995. She has led her lab at the University of Washington since 1995, and in 2012, was elected as the President of the American Society of Human Genetics.

Awards and Honours

  • 1994American Association for Cancer Research, Clowes Award for Basic Research
  • 2005Elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.
  • 2004Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, Genetics Prize
  • 2006Weizmann Institute, Award for Women & Science
  • 2006American Cancer Society, Medal of Honor for Clinical Research
  • 2006Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine
  • 2009Elected to the French Academy of Sciences (foreign member)
  • 2010CSHL Double Helix Medal Honoree
  • 2011The Rockefeller University, Pearl Meister Greengard Prize
  • 2012Elected to the American Philosophical Society
  • 2013Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
  • 2014Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science
  • 2016United States National Medal of Science

Lecture Schedule

Date, Time, and Venue:
Chennai: February 20, 2017. 6.00 p.m. Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao (Lady Andal) Concert Hall, Chetpet
Bengaluru:February 22, 2017. 4.30 p.m. JN Tata Auditorium (IISc.)
New Delhi:February 24, 2017. 4.30 p.m. Jawaharlal Auditorium, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
Kolkata:February 28, 2017. 11.00 a.m. Kala Mandir Hall, Shakespeare Sarani

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series

The Cell Press-TNQ India Distinguished Lectureship Series is co-sponsored by Cell Press and TNQ Books and Journals. Planned as an annual event, the lectures are aimed at bringing internationally renowned scientists face to face with the Indian scientific community. They are held in Bengaluru, Chennai, and New Delhi each year.

The inaugural speaker of the lecture series was David Baltimore, currently the President Emeritus and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. In 1975, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco.

The second speaker was Elizabeth Blackburn, the Australia-born, American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, sharing it with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak.

The third speaker was Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese physician and celebrated adult stem cell researcher. In 2012 he and John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. In 2013 he was awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his work.

The fourth speaker was Huda Y. Zoghbi, the Lebanese-born physician and medical researcher. She is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, and Neurology and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the Director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.

The fifth speaker was Eric S. Lander, a mathematician turned biologist turned geneticist, who is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He serves as Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The sixth speaker was Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University neuroscientist and psychiatrist, who developed methods that have revolutionised our ability to visualise and manipulate brain circuits.

The seventh speaker was Professor Mary-Claire King, an American human geneticist and professor at the University of Washington. She is known for her accomplishments in identifying breast cancer genes, demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical, and applying genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses.

The eighth speaker will be Dr David J. Anderson - Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair, and Director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology - Caltech in Pasadena. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cell Press, an imprint of Elsevier, publishes 34 highly cited journals featuring research and reviews and biomedical and physical sciences, including its flagship journals, Cell and Chem. Other primary journals include: Neuron, Immunity, Developmental Cell, Structure, Current Biology, Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, Chemistry & Biology, Cell Metabolism, Cell Host & Microbe, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, and Cell Systems; 15 Trends review titles; and four society journals-the American Journal of Human Genetics, Biophysical Journal, Stem Cell Reports, and Molecular Plant.

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Chennai-based TNQ is a publishing technology and services company founded in 1998. The technology products and services from TNQ are widely used by leading publishers of Scientific, Technological, and Medical (STM) books and journals worldwide. Today, TNQ has around 2,300 employees, almost all 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.

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