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This lecture, established in 2011, recognizes Marshall Nirenberg for his work to decipher the genetic code, which resulted in his receiving the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Nirenberg's research career at the NIH spanned more than 50 years, and his research also focused on neuroscience, neural development, and the homeobox genes. The Nirenberg lecture recognizes outstanding contributions to genetics and molecular biology.
Dr. Church is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org, which provides the world's only open-access information on human genomic, environmental, and trait data (GET). His 1984 Harvard Ph.D. thesis included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding. These methods led to the first genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. His innovations have contributed to nearly all "next generation" DNA sequencing methods and companies. These innovations plus his lab's work on chip-DNA-synthesis, gene editing, and stem cell engineering resulted in founding additional application-based companies spanning the fields of medical diagnostics and synthetic biology/therapeutics. He has also pioneered new privacy, biosafety, ELSI, environmental, and biosecurity policies. He is director of an IARPA BRAIN Project and the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science. His honors include election to National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He is also a Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science. He has co-authored 425 papers, 95 patent publications, and one book (Regenesis).
Dr. Church's lecture will focus on transformative technologies moving at exponential rates for reading, writing and editing genomes, epigenomes, and other omes. Applications include cells resistant to all viruses via new genetic codes, production and analysis of organs for transplantation, and therapy testing.