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Max Delbruck
Max Delbrück and the Next 100 Years of Biology

The Max Delbrück Vanderbilt Centenary Celebration
The Inaugural Vanderbilt Discovery Lecture Series


The Max Delbrück Vanderbilt Centenary Celebration featured four lectures, given on the afternoon of Thursday, September 14, in 208 Light Hall. Sydney Brenner’s lecture, “The Next 100 Years of Biology,” inaugurated the Vanderbilt Discovery Lecture Series.

The Max Delbrück Vanderbilt Centenary Celebration Lectures

celebration photos

Max Delbrück at Vanderbilt ” -  John P. Wikswo, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University)

Gordon A. Cain University Professor A.B. Learned Professor of Living State Physics Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Physics

Getting the Message Through: High-Fidelity Communication Among Bacteria” - Bonnie L. Bassler, Ph.D. (Princeton University)

Bonnie Bassler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. She studies the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use to communicate with one another, and her aims include combating deadly bacterial diseases and understanding cell signaling in higher organisms. Bassler won a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship, and in 2004 she was chosen as the Inventor of the Year by the New York Intellectual Property Law Association for her idea that interfering with the AI-2 language could form the basis of a new type of broad-spectrum antibiotic. In 2006, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Nucleotide Sequence Information Stored in the Genome”  -  Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D. (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)

Arnold Levine directs the Simons Center for Systems Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Natural Sciences, where he has been a professor since 2004 and is working on the bioinformatics of the co-evolution of virus and host genomes. He is also a professor at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He was a co-discoverer of the p53 tumor suppressor (mutated in more than half of human cancers), and Chair of Microbiology at Stony Brook. From 1998-2002 he was President and CEO of The Rockefeller University and Robert Harriet Heilbrunn Professor of Cancer Biology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards. His research centers upon viral oncogenesis and tumor suppressor genes.

The Next 100 Years of Biology” -  Sydney Brenner, D.Phil. (Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

Sydney Brenner is one of the leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology. Among his many notable discoveries, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined. He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics. His research with  Caenorhabditis elegans provided insights into aging, nerve cell function, and apoptosis. Brenner founded the Molecular Sciences Institute at Berkeley and La Jolla, and he has been a Distinguished Research Professor of The Salk Institute since 2000. In 2002, he shared with H. Robert Horvitz and John E. Sulston the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. Brenner is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 1971 and the Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science in 2000. His recent work involves studying vertebrate gene and genome evolution.

Max Delbruck plaque Buttrick Hall Vanderbilt

Program Committee

Heidi E. Hamm - Department of Pharmacology
Ellen H. Fanning - Department of Biological Sciences
Robert J. Scherrer - Department of Physics and Astronomy
John P. Wikswo - Department of Biomedical Engineering / Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics / Department of Physics & Astronomy

Program Sponsors

Office of the Provost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Department of Pharmacology
Department of Physics and Astronomy
The BRET Office
Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology
Center for Structural Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
Cellular, Biochemical, and Molecular Sciences Training Grant NIH T32 GM 008554, James G. Patton, P.I.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics
Training in Fundamental Neuroscience T32MH064913-06
Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology
Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education  ( VIIBRE )