Nobel laureate to deliver UGA Cancer Center lecture

Nobel laureate to deliver UGA Cancer Center lecture

Athens, Ga. – A Nobel Laureate whose insights have broadened scientists’ understanding of how cell division goes awry in diseases such as cancer will deliver the Spring 2009 University of Georgia Cancer Center lecture on Jan. 29.

Sir Paul Nurse, who received the 2001 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology and is president of The Rockefeller University in New York, will discuss his laboratory’s latest findings on the molecular controls of the cell cycle at 4 p.m. in room H237 of the Veterinary Medicine Building. A reception in the lobby of the Coverdell Building will follow his lecture.

“Dr. Nurse has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of how the cells in our bodies regulate their division,” said Michael Pierce, director of the UGA Cancer Center and the George E. and Sarah F. Peters Mudter Professor in Cancer Research. “The loss of cellular regulation underlies cancer growth, so we’re extremely pleased that Dr. Nurse will be presenting our Spring Lecture.”

Nurse was awarded the Nobel Prize for identifying a key enzyme known as cyclin dependent kinase that controls the cell cycle, the process by which cells grow, duplicate their DNA and then divide. In organisms as diverse as yeasts, plants and animals, the enzyme is involved in processes that block the progression of cells that are too small or have DNA that is damaged or incompletely replicated. A better understanding of cyclin dependent kinase has lead to new insights into how cells reproduce, grow, divide and, in some cases, develop into tumors.

Before being named president of The Rockefeller University in 2003, Nurse served as chief executive of Cancer Research U.K., the largest cancer research organization in the world outside the United States. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Nurse has received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Gairdner Foundation International Award and the Royal Society’s Wellcome, Royal and Copley medals amongst other scientific awards. A fellow of the Royal Society, he is a founding member of the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was honored with knighthood in Great Britain for services to cancer research and cell biology and received France’s Legion d’Honneur in 2002. Nurse plays an active role in science and society issues and makes regular TV appearances, including as a co-host for a The Charlie Rose Science Series on PBS.

Founded in 2004, the University of Georgia Cancer Center is comprised of more than 50 teams of researchers from across campus that are pursuing research that aims improve cancer prevention and treatment. The center is exploring new diagnostic tests and treatments, working to improve cancer-prevention messages and the quality of life of patients and survivors. To learn more, see www.uga.edu/cancercenter.