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The genii in our cells

Thursday 25th March 2010 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00


Richard Festenstein, Clinical Professor of Molecular Medicine, Imperial College

Professor Festenstein and his research group are studying how individual cells make the decision to switch genes "on" and "off" during development.

In our next lecture Professor Richard Festenstein explores a fascinating and fundamental question in biology: how do individual cells make the decision to switch genes 'on' or 'off' during the development of specific cell types and how do they 'remember' this decision as they divide and create new cells that are of the same type as themselves.  He is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms for this so-called 'epigenetic' memory. Groundbreaking work in this field has recently led to the discovery of a previously hidden layer of information storage, in addition to the DNA sequence,and this has led to the concept of an 'epigenetic code'.

Professor Festenstein's research group, based at the Clinical Sciences Centre at the Imperial Hammersmith Campus, focuses on gene control mechanisms and disease. His team has identified that where a gene is located in the chromosome has a large impact on the probability of switching this gene on or off and that this process is conserved through evolution from fruit flies to mammals. Their research is likely to have diverse and far-reaching implications including understanding differences between men and women and treating human diseases. They have, for example, been investigating the incurable inherited neurodegenerative disease Friedreich's ataxia in which the Frataxin gene is abnormally switched off. They have recently identified ways of switching the affected gene back on again, thereby identifying an exciting novel therapeutic approach that can potentially be expanded to other diseases with similar underlying defects. He will begin his talk by giving an introduction to the fundamentals of genetics and gene regulation, explaining how DNA replicates itself, thereby passing information from one cell to the next.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).
After the lecture a Friends' Table has been reserved at a local restaurant to entertain the speaker and for any of the audience who would like to join us to continue the evening's discussion. A two-course fixed price supper is served including wine, coffee and service charge.
Or if you have already booked for the event and now want to join us for supper Book Supper now

Venue: Sir Alexander Fleming Building G16