Nobel Prize winner to visit Lancaster


Photo by Anne-Katrin Purkiss

Nobel Prize winner and biologist Sir John Sulston is to hold a public lecture at Lancaster Town Hall later this month.

A joint winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Sir John was awarded for his work in understanding the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death in worms; an achievement that helped scientists to better understand the role of certain genes in cancer, as well as in normal development.

Educated at Cambridge University, Sir John has received over a dozen honours and awards in science, and was knighted for his services to genome research, including contributions to the Human Genome Project, in 2001.

The lecture has been organised by the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen),  a collaboration between Cardiff and Lancaster universities, and will form the third public lecture organised by the group. Sir John intends to focus on the way in which “biology has grown from a largely academic discipline into one of great social and industrial value,” with discussion centring on the ethical and social dimensions of modern biology.”Choices made now, ethical, legal, social, and scientific, will determine the future of humanity,” he has stated in his abstract for the lecture.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Sir John back to Lancaster on 24 May,” said Dr. Richard Tutton, who is one of the lecture’s organisers. “Sir John’s lecture follows the recent Royal Society report ‘People and the Planet’, which he chaired. This report highlighted concerns about global population growth and increasing consumption on the environment. Sir John’s lecture will address what he sees as our ethical, legal, social, and scientific choices which will determine the future of humanity.”

Professor Maureen McNeil, Associate Director of ESRC Cesagen at Lancaster University, has commented: “We are privileged to have such a renowned speaker in Lancaster – a Nobel Prize winner and former leader of Britain’s contribution to the Human Genome Project. Sir John is a leading scientist and someone who has spoken out about wider social, political and economic issues. I think that students from across the campus, no matter their particular subject, will find his lecture of great interest.”

The lecture, ‘Our biological heritage and our human future; living and flourishing sustainably’, is planned to begin promptly at 6pm on May 24th at the Town Hall. Doors open at 5:30pm; tickets are free but interested individuals are required to register at this webpage:

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