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July 18, 2003
Harvard Professor to Address Bioterrorism, Anthrax Threat at MBL Lecture, July 25

WOODS HOLE, MA - R. John Collier, a Professsor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School will discuss the scientific progress made to date in the fight against anthrax attacks and explore some of the larger questions society faces in undertaking scientific research to protect ourselves against bioterrorism at the Marine Biological Laboratory's (MBL's) Glassman Lecture, part of the Laboratory's 2003 Friday Evening Lecture Series.

The lecture will be held on Friday, July 25 at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole.  The presentation is free and open to the public. Dr. Gerald Weissmann, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Biotechnology Study Center at the New York University School of Medicine, will introduce Dr. Collier.

The Glassman Lecture is held 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.

The anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 prompted the nation to embark on an effort to develop countermeasures against this and other biological warfare agents.  Where do we stand in our quest to address the threat of anthrax?  Recent studies on the structure and mode of action of the toxin produced by the bacteria, which is responsible for the main symptoms of the disease, have led to new approaches to therapy and vaccination.  In addition, novel ways of attacking and destroying the invading bacteria are being developed.  After summarizing relevant progress on the scientific front, Dr. Collier will discuss some of the larger questions we as a society face in undertaking scientific research to protect ourselves against bioterrorism.
R. John Collier received a B.A. in Biology from Rice University in 1959 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964.  After postdoctoral study at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1966 and progressed through the ranks to Professor.  In 1984 he moved to the Harvard Medical School where he became Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.  From 1988 to 1995, Dr. Collier served as the Faculty Dean for Graduate Education and Chairman of the Division of Medical Sciences.  In 1991 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1993 became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 1998 he was featured in Microbiology, A Centenary Perspective, a compilation of 100 landmark research articles in microbiology over the past century, and in 1999 was awarded the Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology by the National Academy of Sciences.  In addition, Dr. Collier was Associate Editor of Protein Science from 1995 to 2001.  He served as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the US-Russian Collaborative Program for Research and Monitoring of Pathogens of Global Importance from 1997 to 2000 and on the Boards of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology from 1997 to 2003.  Dr. Collier was also a member of the NIAID Blue Ribbon Panel on Bioterrorism in 2002.

The remaining lectures in the MBL’s 2003 Friday Evening Lecture Series are:

August 1
"Intraflagellar Transport and Cilia-Dependent Diseases"
Joel Rosenbaum, Yale University

August 8
"Regulation of Aging by SIR2"
Lenny Guarente, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

August 15
"Gene Action in the Pathobiology of Aging"
George Martin, University of Washington

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an internationally known, independent, nonprofit research and educational institution. It conducts the highest level of original research and education in biology, including the biomedical and environmental sciences. MBL hosts research programs in cell and developmental biology, ecosystems studies, molecular biology and evolution, neurobiology, behavior, global infectious diseases and sensory physiology. Its intensive graduate-level educational program is renowned throughout the life sciences. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere.