If Nobel laureate David Baltimore, Ph.D., is right, microRNAs are proving to be as important as proteins in controlling gene activity. That comes as good news to City of Hope researchers, who have been studying these small bits of genetic material to better understand their involvement in diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Baltimore spoke before a capacity crowd of enthusiastic faculty and staff members and students at Argyros Auditorium on Sept. 17. He delivered the inaugural lecture in the Beckman Research Institute Distinguished Seminar Series.
Baltimore, the Robert A. Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech and corecipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discussed the relationship of microRNA, also called miRNA, to inflammation and cancer.
Scientists first discovered miRNAs in the early 1990s. Subsequent research has shown them to be important regulators of gene expression. Scientific studies in more recent years, including studies at City of Hope, have linked both miRNA and inflammation to a number of diseases.
“Dr. Baltimore’s insights into this field are exactly the kind of information and fresh perspective we want the Distinguished Seminar Series to convey to City of Hope researchers,” said Richard Jove, Ph.D., Morgan and Helen Chu Director’s Chair of Beckman Research Institute. Jove led efforts to establish the new seminar series.
The Beckman Research Institute Distinguished Seminar Series aims to boost City of Hope’s mission of advancing research by inviting renowned scientists to present their work and ideas to City of Hope research faculty, staff and students.