Nobel Prize Recipient to Deliver Next President’s Lecture at UM

March 27, 2015

MISSOULA – The winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will deliver the next installment of the 2014-15 President’s Lecture Series at the University of Montana.

David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology’s Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, will present “Genes as Therapies” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in the Dennison Theatre. The lecture is held in collaboration with UM’s Division of Biological Sciences and the Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics.

Baltimore also will lead a seminar titled “MicroRNAs and Blood Cell Homeostasis” earlier that day from 3:40 to 5 p.m. in Gallagher Business Building Room 123. The lecture and seminar are free and open to the public.

After earning his doctorate in 1964 at Rockefeller University, Baltimore did postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and later, from 1965 to 1968, worked as a research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. He joined the MIT faculty in 1968 and earned a full professorship in 1972.

At age 37, Baltimore’s work on virology earned him the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. After founding MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in 1982, he served as its director until 1990 and then became the president of Rockefeller University. From 1994 to 1997, Baltimore was the Ivan R. Cottrell Professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology and the American Cancer Society Research Professor at MIT. From 1997 to 2006, he served as president of the California Institute of Technology.

Upon being appointed to the presidency, the California Institute of Technology’s board of trustees president described Baltimore as “perhaps the most influential living biologist and surely one of the most accomplished.” A colleague of his stated, “It is not an exaggeration to say that one could write a pretty decent history of the last 25 years in biology reviewing Dr. Baltimore’s contributions.”

He has been a leader in the effort to create an AIDS vaccine and in the creation of a national science policy consensus on recombinant DNA research. With other leading scientists, he helped to allay concerns about genetic research and has established research standards that are followed to this day.

Baltimore has been a major figure in Washington, D.C., as head of the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee and co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine’s Committee on a National Strategy for AIDS. He is the subject of the biography “Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore’s Life in Science” by Shane Crotty.

As an educator, researcher and administrator, Baltimore continues his vital work as a public advocate for science.

The President’s Lecture Series at UM consists of 10 talks on vital topics by distinguished guest speakers throughout the academic year. For more information on the series, visit http://umt.edu/president/events/lectures/ or call UM history Professor Richard Drake at 406-243-2981.

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Contact: Richard Drake, UM history professor and lecture series organizer, 406-243-2981, richard.drake@umontana.edu.