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July 22, 2004

Natural Defenses: Can RNA Be Used to Treat Infectious Diseases?

WOODS HOLE, MA—In a lecture titled “Tiny RNAs as Powerful Regulators of Gene Expression: Insights from Protozoan Parasites,” Yale University Researcher Elisabetta Ullu will describe how tiny RNAs, only 20-25 nucleotides long, have been recognized as a means of defense against molecular parasites including viruses. First observed in plants, this discovery could have implications for the future treatment of infectious disease. Dr, Ullu will speak at 8:00 PM on Friday, July 30 at the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street in Woods Hole. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Elisabetta Ullu, Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Cell Biology at Yale University. She earned her Ph.D. in 1973 at the University of Rome in Italy, and worked as a Research Scientist there before becoming a Postdoctoral Fellow with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany from 1978 to 1982. Dr. Ullu has worked at Yale University since 1985, and has taught since 1987. Among her many professional accomplishments, Dr. Ullu has been a member of the Genome and of the Tropical Medicine and Parasitology Study Sections of the National Institutes of Health, is Co-Director of the NIH training grant in Molecular Parasitology since 2001, is an Associate Editor for the Annual Review of Microbiology, a member of the editorial board for Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology and of the review board for the Ellison Biomedical Foundation. At the MBL, Dr. Ullu has been the organizer of the Molecular Parasitology meeting from 1995 to 1997, and the 2002 Co-Director of the Biology of Parasitism Course. Dr. Ullu has received several academic honors, including the 1987-1989 New Faculty Award from Yale University's MacArthur Center for Molecular Parasitology, the 1996-2001 Burroughs Wellcome Scholar Award in Molecular Parasitology, the 2001-2005 Senior Scholar in Global Infectious Diseases from the Ellison Medical Foundation, and a 2003 Summer Fellowship at the MBL.

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.