Dr. Eric Wieschaus
Nobel Laureate of Princeton University
Topic: The Control of Cell Shape: Where Genetics Meets Cell Mechanics
Date/Time: Sunday, April 24, 2013 - 8 p.m.
Location: Stark Learning Center, Room 101
The event is free and open to the public.
About the Speaker
Dr. Eric Wieschaus, the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, won the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995 for identifying genes that transform a fertilized fruit fly egg into an embryo. His co-recipients were Edward B. Lewis and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard.
Wieschaus, who has a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University and a doctorate from Yale University, focused on art as a youngster. Today his study of shape and form focuses on cells. Wieschaus uses the fruit fly Drosophila as a model to explore gene and cell movement, which he was first introduced to during his undergraduate career at Notre Dame, where he had a laboratory job preparing fly food. Looking at how certain cells’ role and function are programmed by shape, scientists now use his research to look at human genes and attempt to find flaws that are responsible for early miscarriages and congenital birth defects.
His current work focuses on defining the relationship between cell fate genes and the step-by-step changes in cell shape and form that occur when these genes are activated. Deciphering this process in fruit fly embryos may eventually suggest strategies to counter developmental abnormalities and birth defects in humans.