Leading genomic technology expert to present Dickson Prize Lecture at Pitt

09/30/05

Dr. Ronald W. Davis to speak on whole genome analysis

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 30 ? Ronald W. Davis, Ph.D., a leader in the development and application of recombinant DNA and genomic methodologies to biological systems, will present this year's Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh's fifth annual science and technology showcase, Science2005: The New Research Ecology. The lecture will begin at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 6., in Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., on Pitt's Oakland campus.

Dr. Davis is one of four prominent scientists who will present keynote lectures during the two-day event, which is scheduled Oct. 6 and 7. All Science2005 events are free and open to the public.

The Dickson Prize in Medicine, the most prestigious award presented by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, recognizes individuals who have made significant, progressive contributions to the field of medicine. Established in 1969 by the estates of Joseph Z. Dickson, M.D., and his wife, Agnes Fischer Dickson, the prize consists of a bronze medal and an award of $50,000.

Dr. Davis's presentation, titled "New Genomic Technology for Yeast Applied to Clinical Medicine," is based on his research on more than 5,000 strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) that he constructed by deleting a different yeast gene in each strain.

Dr. Davis's work has led to a number of important techniques that have advanced the exploration of RNA and DNA in the laboratory setting. Early in his career, Dr. Davis developed the quantitative analysis of DNA by electron microscopy as well as the R-loop technique for mapping coding RNAs by electron microscopy. This R-loop technology enabled the discovery of RNA splicing. Dr. Davis was instrumental in developing phage lambda-based cloning vectors and showed how they could be used for large capacity cloning with both bacterial and eukaryotic DNA. He also contributed significantly to the early development of recombinant DNA methods and extended these methods into yeast and higher eukaryotes.

Dr. Davis's current work focuses on the development of novel technologies for the genetic, genomic and molecular analysis of a wide range of model organisms as well as humans. His team's focus on practical application of these technologies is setting the standard for clinical genomics.

Dr. Davis is director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology and has served on many prestigious committees, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genome Research Review Committee, the NIH Center for Biomedical Ethics Steering Committee, the World Health Organization's (WHO) Immunology of Tuberculosis Steering Committee, and the WHO Strategic Research Steering Committee, which he chaired.

Science2005 emphasizes the University of Pittsburgh's academic strengths in science, medicine, engineering, and computation, and the growing potential they hold as catalysts for economic development in the region. This year's theme, "The New Research Ecology," stresses the collaborative spirit between colleagues and research institutions that can lead to critical scientific advances.

The other keynote speakers for Science2005 are the University of California, San Francisco's Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., acclaimed for her research in the influence of hormones on aging; Joan Massagué, Ph.D., Alfred P. Sloan Chair at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and J. Fraser Stoddart, Ph.D., D.Sc., director of UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute and one of the most cited chemists in academia.

Also on the program will be spotlight sessions presented by scientists from Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University; a technology showcase highlighting recent inventions now available for licensing; a career development workshop for emerging scientists; and various networking and social events.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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