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For Immediate Release: June 18, 2009
Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725, ghebert@mbl.edu

Hollis Cline
Patricia J. Johnson. Click for full-sized image.

The Parasite Behind Common STD Topic of MBL Friday Evening Lecture, June 26

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA - Patricia J. Johnson, professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and former co-director of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Biology of Parasitism course will speak about the human parasite responsible for the most common curable sexually transmitted disease in young, sexually active women at the MBL Friday Evening Lecture on June 26 at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. Her lecture, entitled "The Human Parasite Trichomonas vaginalis: One Cell, Multiple Revelations," is free and open to the public.

The human-infective parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is responsible for Trichomoniasis—the most prevalent, non-viral sexually transmitted infection worldwide. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 7.4 million new cases of Trichomoniasis occur each year in women and men. Trichomonas vaginalis has intrigued evolutionary biologists as well as physicians based on properties of interest to both academic and medical communities. Studies on the pathogenesis of this parasite have uncovered novel properties that permit it to infect and thrive in the human urogenital tract. In her lecture, Professor Johnson will focus on evolutionary and medically relevant secrets gleaned from molecular, cellular, and genomic investigations aimed at exposing the tricks of Trichomonas.

Professor Johnson has been a UCLA faculty member since 1988. She received her Ph.D. in the Biological Sciences from the University of Michigan. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in the Department of Molecular Biology, Professor Johnson worked at the Rockefeller University as a research scientist. Professor Johnson served as a member of the National Institutes of Health Tropical Medicine & Parasitology Study Section and has received numerous awards, including the Scholar Award in Molecular Parasitology from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and an NIH MERIT Award.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are below.

July 3: Susan Avery, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
“Coastal Cities, Coastal Impacts: The Tides They Are A-Changin'"

July 10: Daniel Rokhsar, University of California, Berkeley
"In the Beginning: Genomics of Animal Origins and Diversity"

July 16: David Julius, UC, San Francisco
“The Molecular Biology of Thermosensation and Pain”

July 17: David Julius, UC, San Francisco
“From Peppers to Peppermints: Understanding Pain Through the Power of Folk Medicine and Natural Products”

July 24: Paul Falkowski, Rutgers University
"The Microbial Engines that Drive Earth's Biogeochemical Cycles"

July 31: Martin Raff, University College London;
"Good News about Autism"

August 7: Eric Davidson, California Institute of Technology
"Gene Regulatory Networks: the Genomic Code for Embryonic Development"

August 14: Martin Chalfie, Columbia University, 2008 Nobel Laureate
"Touching Green Worms"

August 21: Josh Sanes, Harvard University
"The Circuits That Let Us See"


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas.