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NIH Record

Director's Lectures Feature HHMI Investigators

Dr. Thomas M. Jessell, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will present the NIH Director's Lecture on Wednesday, Mar. 19 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. He will discuss "Inductive Signals and the Control of Neural Cell Fate."

A week later, on Mar. 26, Dr. GŁnter Blobel, an HHMI investigator at the Rockefeller University, will give an NIH Director's Lecture at the same time and venue; his topic will be "Protein Traffic Into and Out of the Nucleus."

Dr. Thomas M. Jessell

Jessell's research focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal development -- particularly the early development of the spinal cord. Working in the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology, he and his colleagues created techniques for isolating antibodies that recognize specific subpopu lations of developing neurons and axonal pathways. More recently, they have identified some of the molecules involved in regulating neural cell induction, proliferation, and differentiation, and in guiding growing axons to their correct targets. Jessell has received particular scientific recognition for a series of studies on the dorsoventral patterning of the spinal cord in which he identified the sequence of cellular and molecular interactions responsible for generating different functional classes of neurons within the spinal cord. He has received numerous awards and honors. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Society of London, and was awarded the Julius Axelrod Distinguished Lectureship. He has also received the National Academy of Sciences Prize for Scientific Reviewing and a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, a 7-year grant awarded by NINDS to distinguished investigators.

Dr. GŁnter Blobel

Twenty years ago, Dr. GŁnter Blobel and his coworkers deciphered the molecular "zip codes" -- now known as signal sequences -- that target eukaryotic proteins to their proper intracellular destinations. Pioneering work in his laboratory is responsible for much of what we know about how proteins enter membrane-bound organelles.

His group is also tackling what may be an even more complex problem -- how proteins get into and out of the nucleus.

Blobel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is a past president of the American Society for Cell Biology. Among his many honors are the Gairdner Foundation Award (1982), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1993), and the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1996).

The lectures are part of the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. All NIH employees are invited to attend. For more information, contact Hilda Madine, 4-5595.

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