Prof. Thomas Cech (USA) 16.05.2013

Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and the City of Poznan would like to invite you to a lecture of professor Thomas R. Cech from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Nobel Prize laureate in the field of chemistry, who will be giving speech on: "From the RNA World to the RNP World: Ribozymes, Telomerase and lncRNAs".

The lecture will be held on Thursday, May 16, at 12.00 in the Aula of the Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University at  Umultowska 89 Street in Poznan.

Professor Thomas Cech was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1989 for his discovery of catalytic RNA, which has become a basis of the hypothesis of the "RNA world" as an important stage of the origin of life on Earth.

He currently serves as the Director of the BioFrontiers Institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder. His team focuses, inter alia, on the structure and function of telomerase and non-coding RNA that controls the transcription in eukaryotes.

Thomas R. Cech joined the faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1978. In 1988 he became an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University and in 1990 he was awarded the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry title.

In 1982 professor Cech together with his research team announced that RNA molecules from unicellular organism Tetrahymena cut and rejoined chemical bonds in the complete absence of proteins. This is how he showed that RNA is not restricted to being a passive carrier of genetic information, but it could also have an active role on the cellular metabolism. The discovery of the self-splicing RNA made by the team of professor Cech provided the first exception to the long-held belief that biological reactions are always catalyzed by proteins. In addition, it has become a basis of providing a new, plausible scenario for the origin of life; because RNA can be both an information-carrying molecule and a catalyst of chemical reactions, perhaps the first self-reproducing system consisted of RNA alone.

In January 2000, professor Cech became the President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which is the biggest private organisation that carries out biomedical research in the United States. HHMI supports also all levels of scientific education (from primary schools to medical universities) and international research by its grant program of $80 million a year.

In April 2009, professor Cech once againt fully committed to the work related to research and education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also is a Director of the BioFrontiers Institute of the University of Colorado.

His achievements were granted many American and international awards, including the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1988), the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1989) and the National Medal of Science (1995). In 1987 Dr. Cech was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and also awarded a lifetime professorship by the American Cancer Society and in 2000 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

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