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Nobel Laureates

press releases

August 13, 2002
2001 Nobel Prize Winner Tim Hunt to Speak on the Cell Cycle at the Marine Biological Laboratory's Friday Evening Lecture

WOODS HOLE, MA— Dr. Tim Hunt, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will the present the final lecture in the Marine Biological Laboratory's (MBL's) 2002 Friday Evening Lecture Series on Friday, August 16 at 8:00 PM in the Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. The presentation is free and open to the public. Hunt's lecture is titled "What is the Cell Cycle and How is it Controlled?" Dr. Joan Ruderman, MBL Summer Investigator, Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Harvard University, and Marion V. Nelson Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School will introduce Dr. Hunt.

Hunt was honored with the Nobel Prize in October 2001, along with Leland Hartwell and Paul Nurse, for the identification of "key regulators of the cell cycle." Hunt was recognized for his discovery of cyclins—proteins that figure prominently in the cascade of events that regulate the cell cycle, the process by which cells, including the billions that make up the human body, grow and divide. Hunt discovered the unusual behavior of the cyclins while conducting lab work for the MBL’s Physiology course in 1982. Using fertilized eggs of sea urchins, Hunt and his students found that the protein accumulated as cells prepared to divide and then disappeared as they actually divided. The protein, cyclin, turned out to be a key regulator of cell division.

In his lecture, Hunt will trace the history of observations and ideas about the mechanism and control of cell division in the last 100 years, and discuss whether we really now understand how it works. If we do understand, can we selectively inhibit cell growth and division in our own bodies so as to cure, or at least curb cancer, often described as a disease of the cell cycle? Hunt's view is that while cell cycle control is well understood in a broad sense, there is still some way to go in understanding the control of cell growth, which is just as, if not more important than, understanding how cells behave in social context.

Hunt's presentation is named the Glassman Lecture. Each year, one Friday Evening Lecture in the series is named the Glassman Lecture in honor of the late Harold N. Glassman who left a generous bequest to the MBL which resulted in the establishment of the Harold N. Glassman fund, the income from which is used to support an annual Friday Evening Lecture on an important topic in biological research.

Tim Hunt received his B.A. in 1964 and his Ph.D. in 1968 from the University of Cambridge and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1968 to 1970. He was Research Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge (1971-1981), Royal Society Research Fellow (1976-1981), MRC Senior Assistant in Research (1975-1976), and Bait Memorial Fellow from1972 to1975. Hunt has been a Research Fellow (1967-74), Official Fellow (1975-2001), and Honorary Fellow (2001) of Clare College in Cambridge. He was Junior Proctor at the University of Cambridge from1982 to 1983, where he was University Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry from 1981 to 1990. Hunt has been a Principal Scientist at Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall Laboratories in England since 1991. He was an Instructor in the Embryology (1977, 1979) and Physiology (1980-83) summer courses at the MBL. He is on the reviewing boards of Journal of Cell Science, Molecular Biology of the Cell, and Genes to Cells. Hunt is a member of several review panels and has received numerous awards and honors.

Joan Ruderman will introduce Hunt. Ruderman received her B.A. in biology from Barnard College in1969 and her Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, where she did postdoctoral work from 1974 to 1976. Ruderman was Assistant (1976-1982) and Associate (1982-1985) Professor in the Department of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School before holding positions of Associate Professor (1986-1988) and Professor (1988-1989) in Duke University’s Department of Zoology. Ruderman later returned to Harvard University where she is Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, a position she has held since 1993. Ruderman received the Von Wahl Prize in Biology in 1969, the Hane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship (1974 - 1976), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Career Development Award (1980-1985). She was appointed Marion V. Nelson Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in 1993, was elected Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, Member of the National Academy of Sciences 1998, and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2002. She has served on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Advisory Board since 2000. Ruderman has been a summer investigator at the MBL since 1979, an instructor (1976, 1978, and 1982) and Co-Director (1978-1979) of the MBL’s Embryology course, and a member of the executive committee of the MBL Daycare from 1986 to 1995. She served on the MBL’s Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2002.

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, that undertakes the highest level of creative research and education in biology, including the biomedical and environmental sciences.