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Mark Shwartz, News Service (650) 723-9296; e-mail:

Stanford marine lab to dedicate new microscopy center honoring pioneer cell biologist

A new research center equipped with state-of-the-art microscopes will be dedicated at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, Calif., on Thursday, May 10, at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Mazia Microscopy Center will be housed in the Jacques Loeb Laboratory at Hopkins Stanford's 11-acre marine research facility located on the shores of Monterey Bay about 90 miles south of the main campus.

The Mazia center is outfitted with two powerful new microscopes: an Axioplan 1 model donated by Carl Zeiss Inc. of North America, and a confocal microscope obtained through a National Science Foundation grant.

"These instruments are necessary for studying cell structure and events in living cells," says David Epel, the Jane and Marshall Steel Jr. Professor of Marine Sciences at Hopkins.

 Pioneer researcher

 The microscopy center is named in memory of Daniel Mazia, a pioneer in cell biology best remembered for identifying the mitotic apparatus the structure responsible for cell division.

After receiving a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, Mazia joined the faculty of the University of Missouri from 1938 to 1950, then became professor of zoology at the University of California-Berkeley until his retirement in 1979. Because he wanted to continue his cell research, Mazia became professor emeritus in biological sciences at Hopkins in 1979 a position he held until his death in 1996 at age 83.

"The gift of the great microscopist is the ability to think with the eyes and see with the brain," he observed a few months before his death. "Deep revelations into the nature of living things continue to travel on beams of light."

Epel, Mazia's former student at UC-Berkeley and his colleague at Hopkins, said that "Mazia was often ahead of his time. . . . He never looked at anything conventionally. He spoke to ideas and images in his listener's mind, so a student and a senior investigator could listen to the same lecture and gain something different."

Memorial lecture

Among those participating in the May 10 ceremony will be Epel and colleague Stuart Thompson, professor of biological sciences at Hopkins who has been named director of the new center.

Immediately following the dedication, Tim Hunt of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in Britain will deliver the first Daniel Mazia Memorial Lecture. Hunt is credited with discovering a group of proteins called cyclins that control the onset of chromosome replication during cell division. His talk, which begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Hopkins Monterey Boat Works building, is titled "Homage to Dan Mazia - from 'Synthesis of Substances' to the 'Trigger': The Truth About Cell Cycle Oscillators."

The Mazia lectureship and annual scholar-in-residence program were funded by a $50,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, along with $70,000 in contributions from Mazia's friends, colleagues and students.


By Mark Shwartz

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