Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Distinguished Lecturer Series

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Descriptions of the various lecture series offered by the department

Russell Marker Lectures in Genetic Engineering

The Marker Lectures were established in 1984 through a gift from Russell Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid hormone industry and opened the door on the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth control pill.

The 2018/19 lectures will be presented by Susan M. Gasser on April 22 and 23, 2019. Past Marker Lecturers include: Fred M. Winston, William R. Jacobs, Jr., Thomas R. Cech, James M. Berger, Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Elliot Meyerowitz, Steven Henikoff, Steven McKnight, Mina Bissell, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, C. David Allis, Richard Gibbs, Paul Schimmel, Leonard Guarente, Kathryn Anderson, Thomas Maniatis, Arnold J. Levine, Harold Varmus, Lucy Shapiro, Phil Leder, Joan Steitz, Ira Herskowitz, Robert Tjian, Leroy Hood, Mario Capecchi, Robert Weinberg, Paul Berg, Hugh McDevitt, Stanley Cohen, and Ronald Davis.

The Marker endowment also allows the Eberly College of Science to present annual Marker Lectures in astronomy and astrophysics, the chemical sciences, evolutionary biology, mathematical sciences, and the physical sciences.

Ernest C. Pollard Lecture

The Ernest C. Pollard Lecture is named in honor of Ernest C. Pollard, who taught as a professor of physics at Penn State from 1961 to 1971 and founded the Department of Biophysics, which in 1979 merged with the Department of Microbiology and the Department of Biochemistry to form the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. The department was later renamed Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The 2018/19 lecture will be presented by David A. Agard on March 11, 2019.  Past Pollard lecturers include: Richard Henderson, Eva Nogales, Jennifer A. Doudna, Robert H. Singer, Susan Marqusee, Kiyoshi Nagai, Amy Rosenzweig, J. Clark Lagarias, Tom Ellenberger, Robert E. Blankenship, Robert Sauer, Dennis Dean, Kevin Struhl, Carlos Bustamante, Eckard Wimmer, Jonathan Widom, Norbert Krauss, Thomas Steitz, Jack W. Szostak, Donald Crothers, William A. Eaton, Thomas Record, Leslie Dutton, Tom Maniatis, Eugene Nestor, and Gary Felsenfeld.

Robert T. Simpson Lecture in Molecular Medicine

The Robert T. Simpson Lecture in Molecular Medicine is named in memory of Robert T. Simpson, who was an international leader in research on chromatin for over 35 years. His addition to the Penn State faculty, as the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Molecular Biology in 1995, is considered to have placed Penn State and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the forefront of chromatin research and to have greatly enhanced Penn State's research and educational missions.

The 2018/19 lecture will be presented by Wendy Bickmore on September 30, 2019. Past Simpson lecturers include:  Clodagh O'Shea, Shankar Balasubramanian, Richard Young, Barbara Wold, Stephen L. Hoffman, Clifton Barry, Eric Greene, Shiv Grewal, John Lis, Robert Kingston, Ralf Bartenschlager, Randy Jirtle, and Gary Felsenfeld.

Robert W. Stone Memorial Lecture

The Robert W. Stone Memorial Lecture is named in memory of Robert W. Stone, head of the former Department of Microbiology for 23 years.

The 2018/19 lecture will be presented by Zhijian 'James' Chen on April 15, 2019. Past Stone lecturers include: Michael T. Laub, Paul G. Ahlquist, Eva Harris, Eduardo A. Groisman, James Imlay, Markus Ribbe, Kenneth Nealson, Roberto Kolter, Arturo Zychlinsky, Jeffrey W. Roberts, Jonathan Beckwith, Francis Chisari, Tina Henkin, Ed DeLong, Sidney Kushner, Derek Lovely, Thomas Silhavy, Graham C. Walker, Dale Kaiser, Susan Gottesman, Alexander Johnson, Ralph S. Wolfe, Carol Gross, Sankar Adhya, Charles Yanofsky, Norman Pace, Richard Losick, Carol Woese, William Finnerty, Evelyn Witkin, Baruch Blumberg, Jane Gibson, Hayden Coon, and Boris Magasanik.