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March 2006

Release Date: March 15, 2006

Biologist Named WTMA Science Lecturer

Dr. Leroy Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, has been named to present the 30th annual West Texas Medical Associates Distinguished Lectureship in Science, honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon.

Hood is an accomplished academic whose contributions to biotechnology have helped scientists map the human genome. After stops at California Institute of Technology and the University of Washington, he founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine.

Hood, a graduate of Cal Tech and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He holds 14 patents and has co-authored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics.

The concept of systems biology originated with Hood, and it will be the topic of his lecture. Instead of analyzing individual components or aspects of an organism, such as cells, genes or proteins, systems biologists focus on all the components and the interactions among them, all as part of one system.

As scientists have delved deeper into the foundations of biological activity, they have learned that components such as proteins and genes almost never work alone. They interact with other molecules in highly structured, yet incredibly complex ways.

Systems biology seeks to understand these complex interactions, as these are the keys to truly understanding life.

Hood will speak on how systems biology will revolutionize the study of the human body during a public lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center. He will speak to students at 2 p.m. that same day.

The WTMA Lecture honors Dr. Roy Moon, a longtime San Angelo obstetrician and gynecologist, who died in 1976. The lectureship was established the same year and is underwritten by West Texas Medical Associates.

Past lecturers have included 10 Nobel Prize-winners, including Dr. Linus Pauling, Dr. Frederick C. Robbins and Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland.

ASU professor David Loyd, Jr. chairs the selection committee, which is comprised of ASU professors Crosby Jones, Toni Sauncy and George Shankle, and WTMA Drs. Patrick Gibson, Deborah Hajovsky, David Ivans and Fazlur Rahman.

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