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Wednesday Afternoon Lectures Return with Gusto

They're back -- the Wednesday Afternoon Lectures have returned from summer hiatus with a star-studded lineup of scientific speakers. Next up is a talk Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium by Charles Sherr, a Howard Hughes Investigator at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis (see box below). This is the second of two consecutive NIH Director's Lectures.

WALs then takes another time-out for 2 weeks, resuming on Oct. 14 with Stanley Prusiner of UCSF, who will present NIA's Florence Mahoney Lecture: "Prion Biology and Diseases: A Saga of Skeptical Scientists, Mad Cows, and Laughing Cannibals." He will be followed by a special Thursday lecture Oct. 15 by J. Bruce Beckwith pre- senting an NIH first: the Astute Clinician's Lecture -- "The Link Between Teratogenesis and Carcinogenesis: Lessons from the Wilms Tumor Model." The following week continues the prion theme with Susan Lindquist of the University of Chicago presenting NIGMS' DeWitt Stetten, Jr. Lecture on Oct. 21: "Mad Cows Meet Psi-Chotic Yeast: The Expansion of the Prion Hypothesis."

The Wednesday Afternoon Lectures are NIH's premier scientific talks of campus-wide interest. The series includes the NIH Director's Lectures and several named lectures hosted by individual institutes or programs. Speakers for the series are nominated by researchers and scientific interest groups throughout NIH, with the final slate of lecturers approved by NIH Director Harold Varmus. The lectures are held at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, with overflow seating, when needed, in Lipsett Amphitheater, also in Bldg. 10. The lectures are multicast over the NIH MBONE, permitting everyone with the appropriate software to view the lectures from their computer (software for this is available through CandyLan at The lectures are also transmitted to off-campus NIH sites, including the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C., FCRDC, and Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton, Mont. Special accommodations for the lectures as well as other information about the series are available from Hilda Madine in the Clinical Center special events office, 594-5595.

Following the lectures again this year, attendees are invited to meet one another and the speaker at an informal reception held in the Clinical Center lobby area above the Visitor Information Center. These receptions are sponsored by NIH's institutes and centers. Adding to the festivities on many Wednesdays will be poster displays by winners of the Fellows' Awards for Research Excellence or by the NIH inter-institute interest groups.

Additional opportunities for interested scientists -- including students and postdocs -- to meet with the Wednesday speakers are available through the lecturer's host. Again this fall, the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences has offered to support small informal lunches for students and postdocs with the WALS speakers in the Bethesda Room. Because the size of these lunches is limited, anyone interested in participating should contact the speaker's host well in advance. A complete schedule of speakers and hosts for the 1998-1999 WALS series is on the Web at: The site includes links to most speakers' Web pages, which describe their research interests.

The October lectures will continue with a special Monday lecture (rescheduled from last spring) on the 26th by Leon Rosenberg of Princeton presenting the Second James A. Shannon Lecture: "The Medical Research Enterprise -- Only as Strong as its Clinical Links." Peter Mombaerts of Rockefeller speaks on Oct. 28. His topic will be "Targeting Olfaction."

Sherr To Give Director's Lecture

Dr. Charles J. Sherr will present "Integration of Oncogenic Signals by the ARF and p53 Tumor Suppressors," at the NIH Director's Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

His work has focused on retroviral oncogenes, growth factors and their receptors, and cell cycle control. In the late 1970's, he used then emerging recombinant DNA techniques to clone and characterize two retroviral oncogenes, fes and fms, and demonstrated in 1985 that the fms oncogene encodes the receptor for colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1). Subsequent work pinpointed mutations that converted the SDF-1 receptor to a ligand-independent oncoprotein. In 1991, using a screen for CSF-1-responsive genes, Sherr's laboratory discovered the mammalian D-type G1 cyclins and went on to identify the cyclin-dependent kinases with which they associate, as well as a series of polypeptide inhibitors that negatively regulate their activities.

Dr. Charles J. Sherr

Sherr is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has won numerous awards and is the author of more than 235 scientific articles. He joined the National Cancer Institute in 1973, becoming a member of the NIH staff in 1975 and head of the viral pathology section, Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention, in 1977. In 1983, he relocated to St. Jude.

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