Campus News

Nobel Prize winner will deliver 2011 Boyd Lectures

Thomas R. Cech, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a 1989 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, will deliver UGA’s 2011 George H. Boyd Research Distinguished Lectures.

He will speak at 4 p.m. on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 at Mahler Auditorium in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. His Jan. 18 lecture, planned for a general audience, is entitled “Science for Tomorrow: Interdisciplinary Research and Interactive Education.” On Jan. 19, he will talk more specifically about his research in a presentation entitled “Crawling out of the RNA world, from Ribozymes to Telomerase.”

The Boyd Distinguished Lecture Series, supported by UGA’s Office of the Vice President for Research and the William S. and Elizabeth K. Boyd Foundation, brings national leaders and policymakers to UGA in science, education and related fields to discuss the applications of research to contemporary issues in education. The lectures are free and open to the public.

“We could not think of a more fitting speaker than Tom Cech to re-launch the Boyd Lecture Series,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “Few people have achieved his impact as a researcher, while making equally important contributions as a science leader and visionary.”

Cech, who served as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2000-2009 and is still an active investigator at HHMI, is director of the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology. In 1982, Cech and his research group were the first to show that RNA is not simply a passive carrier of genetic information but also has active, catalytic roles. This opened the door for the development of an entirely new and important catalog of RNA tools for applications in both research and disease treatment. The Cech laboratory is also well known for its studies of the assembly of telomeres, the structures that cap the ends of chromosomes and are critical to aging as well as cancer and perhaps other diseases.