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Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine to Speak at UW May 11

May 5, 2017
head portrait of a man
Craig Mello

The researcher who co-discovered a central mechanism of gene manipulation and ultimately shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will speak at the University of Wyoming Thursday, May 11.

Nobel laureate Craig Mello will present “A Worm’s Tale: Secrets of Inheritance and Immortality” at 1:30 p.m. in the Scarlett Auditorium in the College of Business Building.

Mello and collaborator Andrew Fire were the first researchers to discover and describe a previously unknown mechanism that cells use to silence genes, effectively stopping the formation of the protein encoded by the gene. Though originally discovered in the small roundworm C. elegans, the phenomenon, called RNA interference or RNAi, is now believed to occur in most plants and animals.

Their discovery prompted a new field of research, with many components of the RNAi machinery now being identified and characterized by many research laboratories. RNAi has become an established and important tool for biological and medical research; for example, it is widely used to reduce expression of specific genes and study the ramifications, providing insights about the functions of the targeted genes.

Mello is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute and a professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Mello’s visit is sponsored by the Department of Molecular Biology in UW’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Office of Research and Economic Development.


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