Ernest C. Pollard Lecture set for Feb. 25

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Kiyoshi Nagai, senior scientist at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom, will present the 2012/2013 Ernest C. Pollard Lecture at 5 p.m. Feb. 25, in 100 Life Sciences Building. The free public lecture is titled "Crystal Structure of Prp8: The Active Site and the Evolutionary Origin of the Spliceosome."

Nagai's research achievements have been striking for their biological significance and technical prowess. His research program includes studies of systems as diverse as hemoglobin, the protein-synthesis signal-recognition particle and the spliceosome -- a large complex responsible for splicing genes. The journal Nature published his laboratory's crystal structures of the U1A RNA spliceosomal protein in 1990, the U1A/RNA complex in 1994, spliceosomal U2B"/U2A'/RNA complex in 1998, U1 spliceosomal complex in 2009, signal recognition protein/peptide complex in 2010, U4 spliceosomal complex in 2011 and the spliceosomal catalytic core protein Prp8 in 2013. Nagai was awarded the Novartis Prize and Medal of the Biochemical Society and was named Fellow of the Royal Society in 2000.

Nagai received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Osaka University in Japan before joining the Nara Medical College as an assistant professor in 1978. He moved to England and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom in 1981, where he served as joint head of the Structural Studies Division from 2001 to 2010.

The Ernest C. Pollard Lecture is named in honor of the professor of physics who taught at Penn State from 1961 to 1971 and founded the department of biophysics. In 1979 the Department of Biophysics merged with the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry to form the present Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015