Home > News and Events > 2016 News > Nobel Laureate, Thomas R. Cech, to Give Three Free Lectures at Penn State: The Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering and Lecture on Science Education set for April 7 and 8

Nobel Laureate, Thomas R. Cech, to Give Three Free Lectures at Penn State: The Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering and Lecture on Science Education set for April 7 and 8

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18 March 2016

Thomas R. CechThomas R. Cech, Nobel Laureate, Distinguished Professor and Director of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will present the Russell E. Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering on April 7 and 8, 2016 at Penn State University on the University Park campus. The free public lectures are sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

The series includes a lecture intended for a general audience, titled “RNA Enzymes and the Origins of Life,” which will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building. Cech will give a more specialized lecture, titled “Long Non-coding RNAs, Epigenetic Silencing, and Cancer” at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 8, in the Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. In addition, Cech will deliver a lecture on education, titled “Active Learning of Undergraduate Science” at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building. This lecture is also free. Students, faculty, and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Cech’s work has been honored with numerous awards and prizes. Cech was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1987 and he received the Heineken Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences in 1988, the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1988, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989, and the U. S. National Medal of Science in 1995.

Cech earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and completed his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder in 1978. In 1982, Cech and his research group discovered self-splicing RNA in Tetrahymena, providing the first exception to the long-held belief that biological reactions always are catalyzed by proteins. Cech became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 1988 and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1990.  Cech served as the president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2000 to 2009 before returning to his research and teaching at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Marker Lectures were established in 1984 through a gift from Russell Earl Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid-hormone industry and opened the door to the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth-control pill. The Marker endowment allows the Penn State Eberly College of Science to present annual Marker Lectures in astronomy and astrophysics, the chemical sciences, evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the mathematical sciences, and physics.


[ TH/JN ]

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