On genes and disease
Cancer researcher Robert Tjian to give April 3 Faculty Research Lecture



Professor Robert Tjian
Jane Scherr photo

20 March 2002 | Genes may play the starring role in our understanding of how the body functions, but it’s protein molecules that are doing all the work.

Robert Tjian, professor of biochemistry and molecular and cell biology, will unravel the mystery of how proteins work together to “read” the genome and direct cell function on Wednesday, April 3, as part of the Faculty Research Lectures series. His lecture, “Regulating Genes and Diseases,” is at 5 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Tjian is known for tracking down the protein molecules that regulate transcription of genes into RNA. Problems with such regulatory proteins are believed to contribute to such diseases as heart ailments, cancer, diabetes, asthma and immune disorders.

Tjian’s work plays a key role in Berkeley cancer research. He is also a driving force behind the campus’s Health Sciences Initiative, a campaign designed to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration among faculty and students.

A member of the Berkeley faculty since 1979, Tijan enjoys teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. As a 1971 Berkeley alumnus, he says, “I can still vividly recall my own experiences in Bio1A here at Cal as a student in 1968.”

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Tjian has received many honors. In 1994 he was California Scientist of the Year, and in 1991 he received the prestigious General Motors Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize.

The Faculty Research Lecture series was established in 1912. Each year, the Academic Senate elects two distinguished faculty members to share their research with the campus. Art historian Timothy Clark will deliver the second Faculty Research Lecture of the year on April 10.


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