December 2, 2010

MIT’s Lindquist set for Discovery Lecture

MIT’s Lindquist set for Discovery Lecture

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., who received a National Medal of Science from President Obama last month, will deliver the next Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.

Susan Lindquist, Ph.D.

Her lecture, “Prions: One Surprise after Another!,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Lindquist, a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor of Biology at MIT, is a pioneer in the study of protein folding — how proteins bend and twist into complex 3-D shapes.

Prions are infectious proteins that can change into a self-perpetuating form, by altering protein folding. They have been implicated in mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans).

In addition to the role that misfolded proteins play in disease, Lindquist and colleagues have identified potentially beneficial effects of self-perpetuating proteins in evolutionary change and long-term memory.

Lindquist is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. She directed the Whitehead Institute from 2001-2004.

In addition to the U.S. National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, she has received honors including the Max Delbruck Medal, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the Otto Warburg Prize, and the Harvard Centennial Medal.

Lindquist's lecture is the Paul D. Lamson Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Department of Pharmacology.

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