Chemerda Lectures in Science scheduled for April 2 and 3

Constance L. Cepko, a professor of genetics and ophthamology at the Harvard University Medical School, an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a co-director of the Leder Program in Human Biology and Translational Medicine at the Harvard University Medical School, will present the 2011-12 John M. Chemerda Lectures in Science on April 2 and 3 on Penn State's University Park campus. The free public lectures are sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

The first lecture, titled "Strategies to Prolong Vision in Inherited Forms of Blindness," will be presented at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 2, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building. Cepko's second lecture, titled "Cell Fate Determination in the Vertebrate Retina," will be presented at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Berg Auditorium, 100 Life Sciences Building.

Under the direction of Phillip Sharp, Cepko received a doctoral degree in 1982 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she studied the assembly of the protein case of a common respiratory virus. After receiving her degree, she remained at MIT as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow in the laboratory of Richard Mulligan, where she helped develop the technology of retrovirus-mediated gene transduction -- a method of gene therapy, or the delivery of DNA into specific cells of a patient's body. In her current research, she is focused on the central nervous system and how genomics technology and other molecular approaches can be used to study both the development of the retina and the diseases that affect it. Cepko is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served on the Council of the National Eye Institute and on the Bureau of Scientific Counselors of the National Eye Institute. She is a recipient of multiple awards for mentoring, including the Cogan Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Vision Research (ARVO), an Alcon Institute Research Award for Vision, and the Bressler Prize in Vision Research.

The Chemerda Lectures in Science are named in honor of John M. Chemerda, a chemist who earned his bachelor's degree at Penn State in 1935. The lectures are supported by a grant associated with an award that Chemerda received for his research contributions to Merck and Co, Inc. during his distinguished career there. For more information or access assistance, contact the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at 814-865-3072.

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Last Updated March 19, 2012