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Baylor College of Medicine News

Nobel Laureate to speak at BCM

Nobel Laureate Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be the guest speaker presented by the department of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

Tonegawa, who is also director of RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will present his lecture "Identification and Manipulation of Memory Engrams" March 22 at noon in Cullen Auditorium. The lecture is open to the public.

His current research focuses on understanding and identifying the brain mechanisms that promote the many different aspects of learning and memory.

He was the sole winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity. He was able to identify the genetic processes that allow genes to be rearranged in cells creating a variety of antibodies that provide the immune system the ability to fight a wide range of pathogens.

Tonegawa earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at Kyoto University and his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego in 1969. He then worked as a postgraduate fellow at the Salk Institute before becoming a member of the Basel Institute in Switzerland. In 1981, he was named professor at MIT where he continued his research that would later earn him a Nobel Prize.

Tonegawa is being hosted by the students of the neuroscience department. Each year faculty within the department offer students the opportunity to collectively make the decision of who will be the special guest lecturer.