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Vanderbilt Prize winner Lindquist set for Discovery Lecture

Nov. 12, 2015, 9:10 AM

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., recipient of the 2014 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science, will deliver her Vanderbilt Prize Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.

Her lecture, entitled “From yeast to human stem cells: a powerful discovery platform for combatting neurodegenerative diseases,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Part of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series, Lindquist’s talk is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

Lindquist, a pioneer in the field of protein folding at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and recipient of the National Medal of Sciences, the nation’s highest science prize.

She provided the definitive experimental evidence for the “prion hypothesis,” which holds that certain genetic traits can be transmitted solely by “prions,” self-perpetuating changes in protein folding.

Prion diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s involve proteins that change their confirmation. By importing several of these proteins into yeast, Lindquist and her colleagues have developed a powerful system to study folding transitions and screen therapeutic candidates.

A longtime mentor to women graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, Lindquist also has supported and participated in life sciences programs for girls in middle and high school.

Lindquist is the ninth recipient of the Vanderbilt Prize, which honors women scientists with a “stellar record” of research accomplishments who have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science.

Vanderbilt Prize winners serve as mentors to women who are pursuing graduate studies in the biomedical sciences at Vanderbilt University. This year’s Vanderbilt Prize Student Scholar will be announced during the Discovery Lecture.

For more information about the Vanderbilt Prize, go to and click on “Vanderbilt Prize.”

For a complete schedule of the Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, visit

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