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Contact: Susan Joslin, (508) 289-7281; sjoslin@mbl.edu

Harvard Professor Offers a Microbial Perspective of Life on Earth at MBL Friday Evening Lecture, June 24

Roberto Kolter

WOODS HOLE, MA—Harvard microbiologist Dr. Roberto Kolter will give an overview of how microbial activities have shaped our planet at the next MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Friday Evening Lecture on Friday, June 24. His lecture, A Microbial Perspective of Life on Earth will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The event is free and open to the public.

From the origin of life—some three to four billion years ago—to the present, microbial life forms have had great influence in shaping the planet we all call home. According to Dr. Kolter, as whole-planet issues such as climate change and global health become paramount in our everyday thinking, it is useful to ponder the future of life on Earth from the perspective of the invisible, yet incredibly abundant and diverse microbes.

In his lecture, which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the MBL’s Microbial Diversity course, Dr. Kolter will discuss how microbial activities have shaped our planet and describe recent studies that indicate how microbes may react to the current remarkable planetary changes that are being brought about by human activity.

Dr. Roberto Kolter is professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, where he has been a faculty member since 1983, and co-director of Harvard’s university-wide Microbial Sciences Initiative. He has been an influential microbiologist for four decades and has been involved in science teaching and policy worldwide. He recently served as the president of the American Society for Microbiology and now serves as chair of its Public and Scientific Affairs Board. A native of Guatemala, Dr. Kolter earned a B.S. at Carnegie-Mellon University, a Ph.D. at University of California, San Diego, and completed post-doctoral training at Stanford University.

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

July 1, 2011
"What's in a Picture? The Temptation of Image Manipulation"
Michael Rossner, The Rockefeller University

July 8, 2011
The Joe L. Martinez, Jr. & James G. Townsel Endowed Lectureship
"Bridging the Gap in the Fight Against Cancer: From the Operating Room to the Laboratory" Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, The Johns Hopkins University

July 14 & 15, 2011
Forbes Lectures
Russell D. Fernald, Stanford University
July 14: "Social Control of Brain Structure: Cellular Consequences of Changes in Social Status"
July 15: "How Does Social Status Influence the Brain?"

July 22, 2011
Porter Lecture
"The Origin of Life"
Jack W. Szostak, Harvard University; Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 2009

July 29, 2011
"Coral Reefs: Past, Present and Future"
Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution

August 5, 2011
Glassman Lecture
"The Broad Spectrum of Prion-Like Diseases and the Quest for Therapeutics"
Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California, San Francisco; Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 1997

August 11, 2011
Lederberg Lecture
"The Biochemistry of Inflammation: from Microciona to the Microbiome"
Gerald Weissmann, New York University School of Medicine

August 12, 2011
"Genetic Insight Into Candida Infection Biology"
Aaron P. Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University

August 19, 2011
Sager Lecture
"Revisiting the Heuser and Reese Synapse in the 21st Century: Do Nerve Cells Kiss?" - Erik M. Jorgensen, University of Utah, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the MBL is an independent, nonprofit corporation.