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2015 Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering Scheduled for 26 and 27 October

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James M. Berger, professor of biophysics, biophysical chemistry, and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.James M. Berger, professor of biophysics, biophysical chemistry, and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will present the 2015 Russell Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering on October 26 and 27 at Penn State University on the Penn State 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 "Running Rings (and Spirals) Around DNA:  Molecular Mechanisms for Initiating and Controlling Replication," which will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 26, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building. Berger will give a more specialized lecture, titled "How Deep is the Rabbit Hole: The Unending Complexities of a 'Simple' DNA Remodeling Machine," at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building.

Berger has a long-standing interest in the study of DNA and RNA-dependent transactions, focusing on areas such as DNA replication, gene regulation, the control of chromosome superstructure, and the structure and mechanism of large protein-nucleic acid assemblies. He has authored over 140 publications, co-authored seven patents, and has been awarded research grants from various sources including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Berger's work has been honored with several awards including the 2011 National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, the 2008 David A. Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at the Advanced Light Source, the 2006 American Chemical Society Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, and the 2006 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Schering Plough Research Institute Scientific Achievement Award. Berger was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Berger graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. degree in biochemistry in 1990, received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1995, and was a Whitehead Institute Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1995 to 1998. Berger joined the faculty of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley in 1998, becoming an Associate Professor in 2003 and a Professor in 2005. Berger joined Johns Hopkins University in 2013.

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.