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Nobel Laureate Dr. Oliver Smithies

posted Monday March 31, 2008
Dr. Oliver Smithies, co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, will speak on “Reflections of a Lifetime of Science” at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on Wednesday, April 9 2008. Smithies, who is an Excellence Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, has been a UNC faculty member since 1988.

The Nobel Prize, which he received along with Mario R. Capecchi of the University of Utah’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sir Martin J. Evans of Cardiff University in the U.K., recognized their discoveries of “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.”

Smithies, who is the first full-time faculty member at UNC to win a Nobel Prize, has had several major achievements that remain relevant in science today. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Smithies co-discovered a technique involved in gene targeting that is now used frequently in biomedical research. At Connaught Medical Research Laboratories in Toronto, he simplified the gel electrophoresis process, which involves separating proteins to identify genes.

Smithies earned a bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Oxford in 1946, and he went on to earn his master's degree and doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford in 1951.

Smithies will speak in MPSC’s Banquet Hall at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited to the first 300 people. There is no registration for this event; doors will open at 6:45 p.m.