Ernest C. Pollard Lecture scheduled for April 28

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Susan Marqusee, Warren C. Eveland Chair, professor of molecular and cell biology, and director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at the University of California, Berkeley, will present the 2013-14 Ernest C. Pollard Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday, April 28, in 108 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus. The free public lecture is titled “Beyond the Native State: Uncovering the Sequence Determinants of the Energy Landscape.”

Marqusee is one of the world’s top experimental scientists in the field of protein folding. She is known for designing the first synthetic protein fragment that folds into a specific structure, for measuring rare partially-structured proteins using novel hydrogen-exchange methods coupled with nuclear-magnetic-resonance imaging and for the mechanical manipulation of individual protein molecules. Her work has produced highly detailed maps of possible protein shapes, thereby validating the hierarchical model of protein folding and providing the experimental foundation for theoreticians working in this area of research. By using optical tweezers to manipulate and observe how protein structures change in real time, Marqusee has identified new mechanical properties of proteins. Her work provided the first glimpse of the unfolding and refolding of a single protein molecule and provided strong evidence that intermediate phases of the protein-folding pathway lead directly to a protein’s final shape. Marqusee’s work impacts many other areas of research, ranging from the physical chemistry of macromolecules to the design of therapeutics that prevent the aggregation of proteins, which leads to common diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

In addition to her scientific achievements, Marqusee is a leader and mentor within UC Berkeley and the broader scientific community. As QB3 director, she manages a portfolio of research initiatives, core research facilities and educational programs, all designed to use the approaches and technologies of the physical sciences and engineering in order to solve research problems in biology.

In 2012, Marqusee received the ASBMB William Rose Award for Science and Mentorship, and in 2011 and 2012, the San Francisco Business Times recognized her as one of the top 150 “Most influential women in the Bay Area.” She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has chaired or helped to organize numerous conferences, annual meetings and external review committees.

Marqusee received bachelor of arts degrees in physics and chemistry from Cornell University in 1982 and master's and doctorate degrees from Stanford University in 1990. After a postdoctoral experience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1992.

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 April 15, 2014