Nobel Prize Winning Researcher Jack Szostak to Deliver Pair of Lectures

March 23, 2017

World-renowned biologist and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak will be at Northwestern on March 29 and March 30 for a pair of talks hosted by the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology (SQI).

The first half of Szostak’s two-part lecture title “The Transition from Complex Chemistry to Simple Biology” takes place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, inside the medical school’s Baldwin Auditorium, 303 East Superior Street, Chicago. Szostak will discuss his laboratory’s recent progress towards the realization of an efficient and accurate system for the chemical replication of RNA.  

Part two will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, on the Evanston campus inside Pancoe Abbott Auditorium, 2200 Campus Drive. Szostak will explore a number of topics including the interesting challenges that arise when trying to integrate chemically replicating RNA with a replicating membrane system.

Szostak is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a professor of genetics, chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University. He is also the Alex Rich Distinguished Investigator in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Szostak’s early research on telomere structure and function was recognized with the 2006 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In the ’90s Szostak and his colleagues developed in vitro selection as a tool for the isolation of functional RNA, DNA, and protein molecules from large pools of random sequences. Szostak’s current research interests include the synthesis of self-replicating systems and the origin of life.

SQI’s Distinguished Lecture Series is a premier annual academic event featuring high-profile experts from other institutions. This is the first time the institute has hosted a two-part lecture with presentations on both campuses.