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Ernest C. Pollard Lecture Scheduled for March 30, 2015

30 March 2015 at 04:00 pm 101 Althouse Laboratory

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Robert Singer

Robert H. Singer, Harold and Muriel Block Chair in the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology and co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will present the 2014/2015 Ernest C. Pollard Lecture at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 30, in 101 Althouse Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus. The free public lecture is titled "Following Single mRNAs from Birth to Death in Living Cells."

Singer's research focuses on understanding the cell biology of RNA, an essential molecule with many functions in the cell, including the translation of information encoded in DNA into proteins. His lab developed a patented technique, known as in situ hybridization, for detecting RNA in preserved cells, which revealed that RNA can localize in specific cellular compartments. This work gave rise to the field of RNA transport and localization, which has been enhanced by Singer’s and his colleagues’ development of imaging technology sensitive enough to capture RNA and RNA reporter molecules that can be stained by fluorescent dyes for easy visualization. His lab has shown that the dynamics of transcribing RNA from its DNA template for a single gene can be visualized in living cells using various fluorescently labeled reporter molecules. In addition, Singer’s laboratory has been instrumental in developing rapid and sensitive microscopy that can be used in studying single molecules of RNA in living cells and in devising methods to track them through their life cycle. This technology has implications for understanding the role of RNA in disease processes such as cancer metastasis and in developmental processes leading to intellectual disability. Singer holds 12 patents on his work.

In 2011, Singer was honored with the Marshall S. Horwitz, M.D. Faculty Prize for Research Excellence, and in 1999, he was the recipient of the first annual Faculty Research Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In 2009, Singer was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Singer received his undergraduate degree in physical chemistry from Oberlin College in 1966 and his Ph.D. in developmental biology from Brandeis University in 1970. He then did postdoctoral work in molecular biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel before accepting a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1974. In 1996, Singer joined the faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The Ernest C. Pollard Lecture is named in honor of the professor of physics who taught at Penn State from 1961 to 1971 and founded the Department of Biophysics. In 1979 the Department of Biophysics merged with the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry to form the present Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Contact Tamara S. Housel : or phone 814-865-3072

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