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World-renowned biologist ushers in Distinguished Scientist Seminar

Gerald R. Fink
January 04, 2013

ASU’s School of Life Sciences presents its first Distinguished Scientist Seminar of 2013 as part of a program to highlight top scientists from around the world. The school welcomes Gerald R. Fink, an American biologist, professor and researcher at Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Hosted by the School of Life Sciences’ Research & Training Initiatives Committee and Roberto Gaxiola, an assistant professor at the school, Fink will present “From Genotype to Phenotype – an Inconvenient Truth” on Jan. 11, at ASU’s Tempe campus. In his presentation, he will discuss genome sequences and the opportunity to connect genotype and phenotype – a connection that is fundamental to advances in both human health and agriculture. Yet, that connection is complicated and raises the question: Does a mutation have the identical phenotype in two closely related individuals of the same species?

Fink is a world-renowned researcher in the field of yeast genetics. In 1977, he developed the technology to transform yeast cells by targeting specific genes. This procedure allowed scientists the ability to study DNA and in addition, proved to be critical in basic research and in producing vaccines.

Fink’s research rapidly changed the field of cell biology and has influenced nearly every aspect of the field. From understanding how cells function and form, to understanding cancer and developing insights into aging, his research has proved critical to modern day science. He is a National Academy of Sciences Member (1981), American Academy of Arts and Sciences Member (1984), and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (1974). He received the NAS Award in Molecular Biology (1981), the Genetics Society of America Medal (1982), the Emil Christian Hansen Foundation Award for Microbiology, Denmark (1986), the Genetics Society of America, George W. Beadle Award (2001) and the Gruber Prize in Genetics (2010).

The School of Life Sciences will host Fink’s seminar from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Life Sciences East (LSE) 104. The event is free and refreshments will be served following the presentation. 

For more information contact Barb Hoffman at or 480-965-2705.