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Nobel Prize winner: 'New challenges ahead'

David Baltimore became fascinated with biology in high school, when he spent a summer at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. That summer of research biology sparked an interest that eventually led him to a career in molecular biology, a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1975, and a place in history as one of the most distinguished and influential biologists of his time.
(Courtesy Calttech)

Baltimore, a proponent of embryonic stem cell research, will present this year's Life Sciences, Values and Society Program (LSVSP) Annual Distinguished Lecture, titled "Biotechnology: New Capabilities, New Challenges." The free public lecture will be at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Rackham Auditorium. A public reception will follow. LSVSP's mission is to engage the community in discussion of the ethical, social and legal implications of advances in the life sciences.

Currently the president of the California Institute of Technology, Baltimore has established a high-profile career both in research and national science policy. His research in the molecular study of animal viruses that led to the Nobel Prize vastly increased scientists' understanding of cancer and, later, the AIDS virus. Baltimore's discovery of the enzyme reverse transcriptase helped explain how a virus invades and takes control of a healthy cell.

Baltimore also was the founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, and has served as the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Vaccine Research Committee and as co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine's committee on a National Strategy for AIDS.

Prior LSVSP Distinguished Lectures featured Harold Varmus, former director of the NIH and president and CEO of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2000; and Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, in 2001.

For more information on the lecture, contact Michelle Bolek at mbolek@umich.edu or (734) 615-7517. For more information on LSVSP, visit http://www.lifesciences.umich.edu/values.

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