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UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science

GuestBlogger28 October 2016

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Written by UCL MBPhD student Callum Donaldson

Professor François Barré-Sinoussi was the well-deserved recipient of this year’s UCL Clinical Prize Lecture award.

In 1966, Professor Barré-Sinoussi began her undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences at the University of Paris. Following this, she undertook a PhD project with Jean-Claude Chermann at the Pasteur Institute, studying a retrovirus capable of inducing leukaemia in mice.

After obtaining her PhD in 1974, Professor Barré-Sinoussi decided to travel to the United States to begin a post-doctoral fellowship with Bob Bassin at the NIH. The main aim of the project was to identify the viral target of murine leukaemia virus (MLV) restriction factor Fv1.

Professor François Barré-Sinoussi and Professor Michael Arthur

Professor François Barré-Sinoussi and Professor Michael Arthur

After a year at the NIH, Professor Barré-Sinoussi returned to Paris to continue investigating the relationship between retroviruses and cancer.

In the early 1980s clinicians were faced with the emergence of a frightening new epidemic, now known as AIDS. Perplexed clinicians in Paris contacted virologists at the Pasteur Institute asking them for their assistance in identifying the responsible pathogen.

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UCL 2013 Prize Lecture in Clinical Science with Professor Gary Rukvun

newseditor6 November 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Lucy Bell, UCL MBPhD student

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Professor Gary Ruvkun

The UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science, held this year on 30 October,  is one of the university’s most exciting events – the annual invitation of one of the world’s most distinguished scientists to receive an award and speak about their career and research to a UCL audience.

This year’s recipient was Professor Gary Rukvun of Harvard Medical School, whose pioneering work in the discovery of microRNAs – small RNA species with potent regulatory effects – has arguably changed the accepted paradigm of cellular function over the past 20 years, showing that the functional products of genes are not always proteins.

It has also paved the way for a brave new world in genetic research, in which the functions of genes can be rapidly deleted and reconstituted; a level of manipulation unprecedented in molecular biology.

After an undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Berkeley, California, and several years of travelling and tree-planting across the Americas, Professor Rukvun embarked on doctoral training in genetics at Harvard that would eventually bring him to his research into the tiny roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

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UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science

newseditor3 October 2012

Professor Jeffrey Friedman (centre) receives the
UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science Medal from
UCL President and Provost, Professor Malcolm
Grant (right), and Professor Tony Segal.

Written by guest blogger, Marianne Neary, MBPhD student

Yesterday  a group of UCL MB PhD students met Professor Jeffrey Friedman for afternoon tea in the Wilkins Terrace restaurant.  We were granted the honour of a private audience before his UCL Prize Lecture in Clinical Science.

In 1994 Professor Friedman, and his colleagues at the Rockefeller in New York, made a landmark discovery which armed obesity researchers with a new weapon in the battle against widening waistlines and burgeoning bum-prints.

It saw the dawn of obesity genetics as Professor Friedman and his team identified the ‘obese’ (ob) gene in mice and humans. This gene codes for a hormone he later named leptin.

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