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'Frontiers in Biology' symposium to open new biology building

STANFORD -- Seven of the world's top biologists will describe research on the frontiers of their science in a symposium at Stanford's new Gilbert Biological Sciences Building on Thursday, Sept. 26.

The symposium, a Stanford centennial event, celebrates the dedication of the new building, as well as the 50th anniversary of research at Stanford that helped lay the foundations of modern biological science.

The scientific lectures will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Braun Auditorium of the Mudd Chemistry Building. A reservations-only luncheon will be held at noon on the Biology Green between the Gilbert and Herrin biology buildings. The building dedication ceremony is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. on the green. Faculty members, students and friends of the Biological Sciences Department are invited; the press is welcome to attend.

The symposium features "seven internationally recognized scientists from outside the university whose work reflects the breadth and expertise in our department, from biochemistry to theoretical ecology," said Robert Simoni, chairman of the biology department.

First on the program is Norman Horowitz of the California Institute of Technology. He will recount the Nobel Prize-winning work of George Beadle and Edward Tatum, who established the field of biochemical genetics. In 1941, Beadle and Tatum were the first to show how genes instruct the activities of the cell by controlling the manufacture of proteins. They developed techniques now used by all molecular and cell biologists.

Joshua Lederberg, president emeritus of Rockefeller University, shared a divided Nobel Prize with Beadle and Tatum in 1958. In a Sept. 2, 1991, editorial in The Scientist, Lederberg writes of their work, "Its impact on biochemical research continues to resonate today."

Horowitz, a distinguished geneticist who is now a professor emeritus at Cal Tech, was a young research associate when he studied the red bread mold Neurospora crassa with Beadle and Tatum in the catacombed basement of Stanford's Jordan Hall, original home of the biology department.

He will be introduced by Stanford biology professor Charles Yanofsky, who also is known for his ground-breaking work in biochemical genetics.

Each of the six speakers on new biological frontiers will be introduced by a Stanford scientist who is recognized in the speaker's sub- specialty.

Robert Sauer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will speak on "Protein Folding, Function and Cellular Fate." Sauer's work concentrates on the ways that proteins and nucleic acids bind at the molecular level. He will be introduced by Stanford molecular biologist Allan Campbell.

Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California-San Francisco will speak on "Synthesis of Telomers" -- the fundamental question of how chromosomes are manufactured. She will be introduced by biochemist Robert Schimke.

Robert Haselkorn of the University of Chicago will speak on "Heterocyst Differentiation in Cyanobacteria." Haselkorn conducts research into photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation in these plant-like materials. He will be introduced by plant biologist Sharon Long.

James Rothman of the Sloan-Kettering Institute will speak on "Intracellular Protein Transport." Rothman studies the biochemical steps by which individual components of a cell are made and distributed to the correct location. He will be introduced by Stanford cell biologist Ron Kopito.

Thomas Jessell of the Howard Hughes Institute at Columbia University will discuss "Control of Neural Cell Pattern in Vertebrate Development" -- how the brain and nervous system are wired in the embryonic and fetal animal. He will be introduced by developmental neurobiologist Susan McConnell.

Simon Levin, a Cornell theoretical ecologist, will discuss the issues of biodiversity and ecological degradation in his address, "Toward a Sustainable Biosphere." He will be introduced by Stanford behavioral ecologist Deborah Gordon.



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