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NIH Record Howley To Give Khoury Lecture

This year's George Khoury Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Peter M. Howley, the George Fabyan professor of comparative pathology and chair of the department of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Howley moved to Harvard in 1993 after 20 years at NIH. He currently chairs the national cancer policy board of the National Academy of Sciences and serves as president of the American Society of Virology. He will present his talk, "Papillomaviruses, Cancer and Ubiquitination," on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. in the Clinical Center's Masur Auditorium.

Dr. Peter M. Howley

Howley's research has focused on the molecular biology of the papillomaviruses and, in particular, on human papillomaviruses (HPV) as a possible cause of cervical cancer. HPV has been found in over 90 percent of cervical cancer cases. Genome studies of certain subtypes of HPV show that two genes, E6 and E7, contribute directly to carcinogenesis. In 1990, Howley discovered that when the HPV E6 protein is present, a major tumor suppressor gene, protein p53, ceases to function. For these studies, he used ubiquitin, a molecule that marks aged or useless cellular proteins for destruction; this mechanism prevents the processes seen in cancer in which the cells do not die off naturally. Howley showed that E6 promotes the ubiquitination of p53 through the E6-associated protein (E6AP). He was the first to identify this process in mammalian cells. The discovery of E6AP has led to the identification of a large family of related proteins and how they are regulated. It has greatly aided our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that result in cancer.

Among the awards Howley has received are NIAID's Wallace P. Rowe Award, the Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Award from the American Society of Investigative Pathology, and the Paul Ehrlich-Ludwig Darmstaedter Award from Germany. While at NIH, Howley was a member of the Public Health Service, from which he received both the Commendation and Meritorious Service Awards.

In 1993, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1994 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

After receiving his A.B. in chemistry from Princeton University, Howley began his medical training at Rutgers Medical School, where he earned an M.M.S. in 1970. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1972. After a year of internship training at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined Dr. Malcolm Martin's research group in the Laboratory of Biology of Viruses, NIAID, where he worked as a research associate with Dr. George Khoury.

In 1975, Howley moved to NCI to complete his training in anatomic pathology and, in 1977, he became a principal investigator in the Laboratory of Pathology. In 1984, he was made chief of NCI's Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology, where he remained until 1993, when he joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School. From 1995 to 1996, he served on the board of scientific counselors of NCI.

This is the fifth lecture in this series. It was organized by NIH scientists to honor the memory of Dr. George Khoury, who had just been elected to the National Academy of Sciences when he died of lymphoma complications at the age of 43. Khoury was highly regarded as a superb scientist and caring mentor. The lecture is an NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series event, cosponsored by NIAID and NCI. For more information, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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