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March 2009

Release Date: March 24, 2009ASU Logo

Renowned Chemical Biologist to Deliver ASU Moon Lectureship

Dr. Christopher M. Dobson, the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at England’s University of Cambridge, will deliver the 33rd annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science Honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon Wednesday, April 22, at Angelo State University.

Dobson’s talk, titled “Life on the Edge: The Nature and Origin of Neurodegenerative Diseases,” will begin at 8 p.m. April 22 in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center in the ASU Houston Harte University Center. Prior to the public lecture, Dobson will also meet with ASU students to discuss “Protein Folding: From the Test Tube to the Cell” at 2 p.m. Both lectures are open free to the public.

Over the past 30 years, Dobson’s pioneering research has involved the application of strategies and techniques in the physical sciences to address problems in the biological and medical sciences. In particular, he has studied how the molecular components of living systems are able to self-assemble to generate biological activity.

Much of Dobson’s work in this field has been on proteins. Recently, he has focused on the failure of proteins to fold properly, or to remain in their correctly folded states under normal physiological conditions. Such cases of “mis-folding” are increasingly recognized as a common feature underlying disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and adult-onset diabetes. His findings have not only improved our understanding of these increasingly common disorders, but are also leading to new strategies for their prevention and treatment.

Prior to arriving at Cambridge in 2001, Dobson spent 21 years at the University of Oxford, where he rose from lecturer in chemistry to director of the Oxford Centre for Molecular Studies. He has also taught previously at Harvard University and was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His ground-breaking research has made Dobson a popular and prolific speaker. Since 1990, he has delivered more than 250 invited and plenary lectures at international meetings. He has also conveyed more than 100 lectures and seminars at universities and research institutions in the U.S., England, Scotland, Canada and Israel, among others.

Also a prolific writer, Dobson has produced more than 500 papers and review articles with more than 150 of them coming in the last five years. More than 30 of his writings have been published in the international journals Nature and Science.

Dobson earned two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degree and a doctorate from Oxford. He added a second doctorate from Cambridge in 2007. His many honors include a Stein and Moore Award from the Protein Society, a Davy Medal from the Royal Society, a Silver Medal from the Italian Society of Biochemistry and a Bijvoet Medal from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He has also received honorary doctoral degrees in science and medicine from the University of Leuven (Belgium), University of Li�ge (Belgium), Umea University (Sweden) and University of Florence (Italy).

A member of Great Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry, Dobson has also been elected to the Fellowships of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The WTMA Lectureship honors Dr. Roy E. Moon, a longtime San Angelo obstetrician and gynecologist, who died in 1976. He practiced for 28 years with Clinic Hospital Medical Associates, now West Texas Medical Associates. The lectureship was established in 1976 and is underwritten by a grant to ASU from members of WTMA.

Each year, the lectureship brings a scientist of national prominence to ASU for public lectures, colloquia and informal discussions. Past speakers have included 11 Nobel Prize winners.

The selection committee is chaired by Dr. Grady Price Blount, dean of the ASU College of Sciences, and includes Dr. Crosby Jones, professor of biology; Dr. Toni Sauncy, associate professor of physics; Dr. John Osterhout, head of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; and WTMA physicians, Dr. Patrick Gibson, Dr. Deborah Hajovsky, Dr. Brian Bradley and Dr. Fazlur Rahman.

For more information, call the ASU College of Sciences at 942-2024.