Simpson Lecture to take place April 5

Robert E. Kingston, chief of the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, vice chair of the Department of Genetics at Harvard University, and vice chair of the Executive Committee on Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, will present the 2009/2010 Robert T. Simpson Memorial Lecture in Molecular Medicine at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 5, in room 101 of the Althouse Laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus.

This free public lecture, titled "Nucleosome Occupancy and Regulation of HOX Gene Expression in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lineages," will focus on the role of chromatin -- the combination of DNA, RNA and proteins that make up chromosomes -- and gene regulation in the inner workings of stem cells. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Kingston's research focuses on understanding how the structure of chromatin is regulated. He also studies how the regulation of chromatin structure impacts gene regulation in mammals, with a focus on the mechanisms that maintain different states of gene expression during development.

Kingston earned a doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkeley in 1981. From 1982 to 1984, he was a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he first began to study the regulatory mechanisms involved in the transcription of RNA from DNA in humans. In 1985, Kingston joined the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital as an assistant molecular biologist and the Department of Genetics at Harvard University as an assistant professor of genetics. He became a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of genetics at Harvard University in 1995. In 2004, he became an associate member of the Broad Institute. Also in 2004, he was interim chief of the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and program head of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard University. He has been an editor of the journals Current Protocols in Molecular Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

The Robert T. Simpson Lectureship honors Robert T. Simpson and is made possible through donations from his family, friends, colleagues and associates. Simpson was an international leader for more than 35 years in research on chromatin -- a fundamental component of chromosomes -- and its role in gene regulation. Simpson was at the National Institutes of Health from 1970 until 1995, when he became the Verne M. Willaman Professor of Molecular Biology at Penn State University. His addition to Penn State in 1995 is considered to have placed Penn State and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the forefront of chromatin research and to have greatly enhanced Penn State's research and educational missions. For more information about the lecture, contact Tamara Housel at 814-865-3072.

Last Updated November 18, 2010