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Cancer epigenetics expert Baylin set for Discovery Lecture

Nov. 1, 2018, 9:34 AM

by Bill Snyder

Stephen Baylin, MD, a trailblazer in the study of the epigenetics of cancer, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 8. His lecture, sponsored by the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, will begin at 4 p.m. in room 208 Light Hall.

Stephen Baylin, MD

Epigenetics, simply put, is the study of biological mechanisms that switch genes on and off — alter gene expression. Researchers believe that cancer can occur when genes that normally suppress cancerous growth, called tumor suppressor genes, are turned off.

Baylin is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research and professor of Oncology and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and co-director of the Cancer Biology Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

He attended Duke University, where he earned his medical degree in 1968 and completed his first year of residency training in Internal Medicine. He then worked for two years at the National Heart and Lung Institute (now the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) and in 1971 joined the Johns Hopkins faculty.

In 2009 Baylin was named co-principal investigator of a $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to decipher epigenetic “marks” in cancer cells that could be targeted by new treatments.

The same year he was chosen by the privately funded research effort Stand Up to Cancer to co-lead a multi-institutional “Dream Team” to study and potentially reverse epigenetic changes associated with certain cancers.

The author or co-author of more than 450 scientific publications, Baylin has received several awards for his research including the  Alfred G. Knudson Award in Cancer Genetics from the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to mc.vanderbilt.edu/discoveryseries.

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