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Nobel prize-winner to talk on human genetics

Press release issued: 1 June 2009

Humanity’s genes are the focus of a public lecture at Bristol University on Thursday 4 June by Nobel Prize-winning biologist Professor Sydney Brenner of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California.

The lecture is part of this year’s Colston Research Symposium, a two-day meeting at the University which will bring together a range of experts working at the forefront of many areas of medical research and clinical practice relating to genetics, society and public health.

The symposium, entitled The New Genomics: Public Health, Social and Clinical Implications, is sponsored by the Colston Research Society and directed by Professor George Davey Smith of the University’s Department of Social Medicine.

Other speakers include Professor Sir Walter Bodmer of Hertford College, University of Oxford who will ask whether the promise of molecular genetics has been fulfilled, Professor Lon Cardon of Glaxo Smith Kline who will discuss ways of translating complex disease genes into new medicines and Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, who will talk on how to get maximum value out of population genetic resources.

Professor Sydney Brenner will deliver his lecture in Lecture Theatre 1, School of Chemistry, Cantock’s Close on Thursday 4 June at 6.30pm.  (Please email if you wish to attend.)

Professor Brenner is one of the world’s leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology.  He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 for his discoveries concerning the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.  Most recently, he has been studying vertebrate gene and genome evolution.  His work in this area has resulted in new ways of analysing gene sequences, which has developed a new understanding of the evolution of vertebrates.

Among his many notable discoveries, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined.  He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics.

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