Seminar Series

Barbara McClintock Lecture


This lecture series honours Barbara McClintock, the pioneering corn geneticist James Watson called one of the three most important figures in biology in this century.

She obtained her PhD at Cornell University. At the time, there were few academic positions for women so she took a number of fellowships at Cornell, Caltech and later became Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri. She left Missouri because her advancement was blocked and, in 1941, she joined the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, remaining there for the rest of her life.

McClintock's incisive and brilliant cytogenetic studies of the 1930s let to the consolidation of the chromosome theory of inheritance, and to the discovery of the nucleolar organizer. From the 1940s onward, she discovered and characterized mobile genetic elements in maize, 40 years before their molecular basis was understood.

Among her many honors, Barbara McClintock was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1944, received the National Medal of Science in 1970, and was appointed a MacArthur Fellow in 1981. In 1983 she became only the third woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize for her work on mobile elements. She died in 1992, universally admired for her extraordinary record of getting things right, based on observation and simple, elegant experiments that were years ahead of her time.

On 8 June 2017, the McClintock Lecture will be given by Dr. Yishi Jin at 12:30pm in LSC3 of the Life Sciences Centre. (poster) The title is "Genetic dissection of synapse remodeling and maintenance".

Previous Barbara McClintock Lecturers:

1992, Dr. Paul Sternberg, "Inductive signaling during C. elegans development"

1993, Dr. Helen M. Blau, "Regulation of growth and differentiation by untranslated RNAs"

1994, Dr. Corey Goodman, "Molecular mechanisms generating neural specificity"

1996, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, "Telomeres and telomerase"

1997, Dr. Ed M. Hedgecock, "Genes that specify developmental age in C. elegans"

1999, Dr. Sean Carroll, "Regulation of the body plan in development"

2001, Dr. Cynthia Kenyon, "Aging in C. elegans"

2002, Dr. Katherine Anderson, "Drosophila toll signaling pathways in development and immunity"

2003, Dr. Alexander Mazo, "The roles of histone modification in gene regulation"

2004, Dr. Andy Fire, "Cellular responses to foreign nucleic acids"

2005, Dr. Vincenzo Pirrotta; Dept of Molecular Biology & Biochem, Rutgers Univ, Pitscataway, NJ
"Polycomb silencing mechanisms and genomic programming" held May 17, 2007

2006, Dr. Pierre Drapeau; Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill Univ, Montreal, Quebec "From Autism to Zebrafish: development of the motor system and systems biology of brain diseases" held May 5, 2007

2007, Dr. Ulrich Tepass; Dept of Cell and Systems Biology, U of Toronto "Mechanisms of Epithelial Polarization and Morphogenesis"

2008, Dr. Oliver Hobert; Dept of Biochem & Molecular Biophysics; Columbia University college of P&S, NYC, NY
"Gene Regulatory Mechanisms that control neuronal cell fate specifications in C. elegans"

2009, Sir John Sulston, 2002 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine Chair, Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation (iSEI) University of Manchester, UK "Who owns science?"

2010, Riddle Symposium replaced McClintock lecture.

2013, Dr. Chris Q. Doe, "Mechanism and function of spindle orientation in neural stem cells", on 24 January.

2013, Dr. Kang Shen, "Extrinsic and Intrinsic regulators of Synapse Formation in C. elegans", on 6 June.
Last updated 21 May 2013