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UT Southwestern’s Brown set to deliver Flexner Discovery Lecture

Apr. 18, 2013, 10:25 AM

Nobel laureate Michael Brown, M.D., whose research paved the way for the development of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, April 25.

Michael Brown, M.D.

His lecture, “Scap: Anatomy of a membrane sterol sensor,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. It is sponsored by the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and is also the 2013 Earl W. Sutherland Lecture.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Brown is Regental Professor and director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Brown and his colleague Joseph Goldstein, M.D., have co-supervised a research program focused on the genetics and regulation of cholesterol metabolism since 1972. Their joint laboratory at UT Southwestern is unique in medical research.

Brown and Goldstein identified the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls the level of cholesterol in blood and in cells, and they demonstrated that mutations in the receptor cause familial hypercholesterolemia (a genetic disorder of high cholesterol). They have shared 21 major awards for their discoveries, including the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

In further studies of cholesterol regulation, Brown and Goldstein discovered the protein Scap, which “senses” cholesterol levels and then controls the cellular movement (allows progress to the nucleus or blocks the movement) of transcription factors that turn on cholesterol-synthesizing genes.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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