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Khoury Lecture Explores Stem Cell Possibilities

By Jeff Minerd

When it comes to healing itself, the human body cannot perform the feats that a starfish can — we cannot grow back lost limbs. However, our bodies still retain remarkable potential to heal from injury or disease. Might this power be tapped or tweaked to enhance our regenerative abilities, allowing us to regrow tissues and organs that we could not before? Might our bodies even be persuaded to slow or reverse the aging process?

Dr. Nadia Rosenthal, an international expert on developmental genetics and the mechanisms of aging, will discuss these questions and report on how her recent stem cell research explores these issues when she delivers this year's George Khoury Lecture. The talk, titled "Prometheus' Vulture and the Promise of Stem Cells," will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 4 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Dr. Nadia Rosenthal

Rosenthal has dedicated her career to understanding how the body builds itself from a single cell — and how it rebuilds itself when necessary. Her research focuses on mouse developmental genetics, particularly skeletal muscle and embryonic heart development. She has elucidated genetic pathways that control growth and disease in these tissues. In addition, she studies the molecular biology of aging and creates mouse models of human disease.

Rosenthal is head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, near Rome. Since her arrival in Europe last year, she has become a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and has been awarded the Ferrari-Soave Prize in Cell Biology. Other honors include an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association and the Whitaker Health Sciences Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rosenthal received her Ph.D. in 1981 from Harvard Medical School, and she has held the positions of senior associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and associate professor of biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine. For the last decade, she has served as consultant in molecular medicine at the New England Journal of Medicine. In 2001, she moved to EMBL from the Cardiovascular Research Center at Harvard Medical School, where she directed a biomedical research laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

From 1981 to 1983, Rosenthal trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. George Khoury at NIH, where her research focused on molecular virology. The Khoury Lecture is dedicated to the memory of George Khoury, who made seminal contributions to our knowledge of how genes are regulated and trained many outstanding young scientists who continue his work today.

All are welcome to attend a reception outside the auditorium with Rosenthal after the lecture. For more information, call Hilda Madine at 594-5595.

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