2017 Nobel Laureate Michael W. Young, PhD, Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor, head of the Laboratory of Genetics, and vice president for academic affairs at the Rockefeller University, will deliver the first presentation in the 2019 Senior Vice Chancellor’s Laureate Lecture Series, a yearlong program highlighting top biomedical researchers in their fields. Young’s talk, “Genes Controlling Sleep and Circadian Rhythms,” will be delivered at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, in Lecture Room 6, Scaife Hall.
This seminar series is open to the public, including all interested University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University faculty, students, and staff. Arthur S. Levine, MD, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine, will introduce Young and lead the discussion following the lecture.
Young discovered the molecular mechanism behind circadian rhythms, which govern internal biological clocks that regulate sleep, eating behavior, and metabolism. He and colleagues identified genetic mutations in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster that disrupt the fly’s ability to modulate its internal clock when environmental changes occur and worked to define the related biochemical mechanisms. Understanding this internal clock, which is conserved throughout the animal kingdom, provides further insight into how the brain translates environmental cues into altered behavior. Young’s research findings have implications for sleep and mood disorders and for dysfunctions related to a variety of metabolic diseases. He and his lab members continue to study how rhythmic gene and protein activities are established in cells and how other mechanisms of the human biological clock operate.
Young received both his bachelor’s degree in biology and his genetics PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine before joining the Rockefeller University’s faculty. His many honors and awards include the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Jeffrey C. Hall, PhD, and Michael Rosbash, PhD; the 2012 Canada Gairdner International Award; the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine; and election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
A reception with light refreshments will follow the talk.
Wednesday, May 1 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.