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Nobel laureate to speak on evolutionary medicine at Distinguished Lecture Series

Nobel laureate Sidney Altman
February 27, 2013

Arizona State University welcomes Nobel Laureate Sidney Altman on March 4 for part two of a new Distinguished Lecture Series on evolutionary medicine. Altman will present his lecture “Antibiotics Present and Future.” He is the Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University.

Altman, Distinguished Origins Visiting Professor at ASU, will discuss his recent work and how new developments in our understanding of RNA therapeutics may help address the looming shortage of working antibiotics. Many bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to their widespread use. New “superbugs,” or multi-drug resistant bacteria, are a growing and significant threat to human health.

Altman received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 jointly with Thomas R. Cech for discovering the catalytic properties of RNA. Altman found that RNA (ribonucleic acid) in living cells is not only a molecule of heredity, but also functions as a biocatalyst. His pioneering discovery relates to aspects of the molecular basis of life.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and his doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Colorado Medical School in Boulder.  Altman also received the Rosenstiel Award for Basic Biomedical Research (1989), the National Institutes of Health Merit Award (1990) and the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award (1990).

The lecture is free, open to the public, and scheduled for March 4, 4:30 p.m. at ASU’s Biodesign Auditorium on the Tempe campus. Dr. Altman's visit to the university is supported by the Origins Project at ASU. This event is presented by ASU’s School of Life Sciences, Origins Project and Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative.

For more information, contact Manfred Laubichler at