Yale Bulletin
and Calendar

May 3-17, 1999Volume 27, Number 31

Talk by noted biochemist will
highlight Student Research Day

Renowned biochemist Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz of Duke University will discuss his groundbreaking work on membrane receptors during the 13th annual Student Research Day at the School of Medicine on Tuesday, May 11.

His talk, the annual Farr Lecture, will highlight a day devoted to the original scientific research conducted by 61 medical students and public health students as part of their Yale training.

The day's events will begin at noon with a poster session showcasing the results of these research projects, which included such diverse topics as the history of medical inventions, the characteristics of driving behavior in older patients, a way of predicting child maltreatment using a clinical rating scale, a novel method for gene therapy in vascular beds, new treatment for cutaneous lymphoma and methods to predict protein structure from DNA sequences.

All Student Research Day activities will take place in the Jane Ellen Hope Building, 315 Cedar St. The public is invited to attend the poster session and lectures.

Five students whose research was selected for special honors by the Thesis Awards Committee will give oral presentations of their work at 2 p.m. in Rm. 110. The students and their projects are: Obinwanne Ugwonali, "The Role of White Yams in the Increased Incidence of Multiple Births in Southwestern Nigeria"; Angelo Volandes, "Film Documentary as Ethnography: Tempering Medical Ethics with Patient Stories"; Senai Asefaw, "Stimulation of Myocardial AMP-activated Protein Kinase by AICAR Increases Cardiac Glucose Uptake and Causes GLUT4 and GLUT1 Translocation In Vivo"; Steven Jacoby, "Analysis of Structure and Function in the Na-K-Cl Cotransporter"; and Maie Rahman St. John, "The Role of LATS in Mammalian Tumorigenesis, Development and Cell Cycle Regulation."

At 4:30 p.m. Lefkowitz will present the annual Farr Lecture, which honors the late Dr. Lee E. Farr, a 1932 medical school graduate. Lefkowitz's topic will be "G Protein-Coupled Receptors and Their Regulation." This talk will also be held in Rm. 110.

Lefkowitz is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and a professor of biochemistry at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham.

His work focuses on the study of receptors, complex protein structures on cells that mediate the effects of diverse substances in the body, including drugs. A receptor binds a substance to the surface of a cell and transmits its message into the cell, thus changing the cell's function. Scientists throughout the world have used Lefkowitz's work to develop drugs that are more precise and effective, and his discoveries are playing a role in developing gene transfer techniques for use in treating heart failure.

Lefkowitz has received numerous awards and honors for his discoveries, and is often mentioned as a potential Nobel Prize winner. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, among other professional affiliations.

Of all the medical schools in the country, Yale is the only one that requires a dissertation based on original research for the M.D. degree, according to Dr. John N. Forrest Jr., professor of medicine and director of the Office of Student Research.

The thesis has been considered an essential part of the Yale system of medical education since 1839, when the requirement was first instituted. By researching and writing a dissertation, medical students develop critical judgment and habits of scholarship and self-education, and learn to apply the scientific method to medicine while working with the school's distinguished faculty, Forrest explains.


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Campus Notes

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