AstraZeneca and Nobel Media present Nobel Laureate on China lecture tour

Monday, 15 October 2012

AstraZeneca, an innovation-driven global biopharmaceutical company, in partnership with Nobel Media AB, the company responsible for managing and developing media rights in connection with the Nobel Prize, are delighted to present Nobel Laureate Professor Oliver Smithies in a series of lecture events in Shanghai and Nanjing, as a part of the AstraZeneca Nobel Medicine Initiative. The initiative aims to enhance interest and understanding among researchers, students and the general public about the Nobel Laureates’ discoveries and their innovative approaches to science, which have contributed to their Nobel Prize awarded achievements. This is the second year that the programme is held in China, following successful inaugural lecture events in Shanghai and Beijing in 2011.

Professor Oliver Smithies, a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells, will share his insights and learnings from his life as a scientist for more than half a century.

Today, Professor Smithies delivers a lecture to AstraZeneca scientists and other invited guests, entitled “On being a scientist for sixty years.’ This will be followed by events at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Nanjing University during the next two days. During his university lectures, on the topic of 'Turning Pages: From Gels to Genes', Professor Smithies will describe the trials and tribulations he faced during his scientific career with the aim of providing inspiration for young researchers. Students will also have a unique opportunity to engage with Professor Smithies during lab visits, round table discussions and student interviews.

Speaking about his visit, Professor Smithies said, “I am delighted to participate in the second AstraZeneca Nobel Medicine Initiative event in China. I look forward to sharing my key moments from my 60 years as a scientist over three days of, what promise to be, exciting discussions and interactions with students at Jiao Tong University and Nanjing University, and also staff at the new AstraZeneca site in Shanghai”

During the opening event at the AstraZeneca campus in Shanghai Zhangjiang Park, Mr. David Snow, Chief Operating Officer, China and Hong Kong for AstraZeneca, said, “Professor Smithies’ devotion to medical research and his innovative approach is an inspiration to all of us at AstraZeneca in our effort to meet the growing medical needs of people around the world. We hope this collaborative effort will increase scientific understanding and the awareness of how medical breakthroughs and new treatments can improve patient health and quality of life and inspire the next generation of researchers here in China.”

Speaking about the initiative, Camilla Hyltén-Cavallius, CEO for Nobel Media, said, “We are excited to offer yet another opportunity for Chinese students to interact with a Nobel Laureate and listen first hand to Professor Smithies’ inspiring story about his extensive scientific career and the work which led to a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.”

To read more about the AstraZeneca Nobel Medicine Initiative Click Here

About Professor Oliver Smithies
Dr. Oliver Smithies was the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the introduction of specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Smithies has been the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine since 2008. From 1988 to 2008 he held the position of Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UNC. For over 20 years, Dr. Smithies’ research has focused on understanding how genetic factors affect the incidence and progression of common multifactorial diseases. His lab was the first to use gene targeting in embryonic stem cells to modify the expression of genes that are candidates for controlling blood pressure. Using this strategy, they proved that variations in the expression levels of several genes caused changes in the blood pressures of mice. Dr. Smithies’ current research focuses on how gene expression patterns determine the consequences of hypertension, with particular reference to pre-eclampsia. His interests also include understanding the factors that influence the development of albuminuria in other conditions such as diabetes.

Prior to his time at UNC, Dr. Smithies was based at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for 28 years. He holds D. Phil. from Oxford University.

Dr. Smithies is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Markle Scholar, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before receiving the Nobel Prize, his work was recognized by the Albert Lasker Award (2001), the Massry Prize (2002), the O. Max Gardner Award (2002), the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology (2005) and the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal (2007).

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com

About Nobel Media AB
Nobel Media AB aims to spread knowledge and interest in the Nobel Prize awarded achievements to a global audience, through digital and broadcast media, publishing and events. Included in Nobel Media’s portfolio is Nobelprize.org, the official web site of the Nobel Prize, which currently receives over 45 million visitors. Production of official television programmes consists of The Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo, The Nobel Banquet, Nobel Documentaries, Nobel Minds, Nobel Laureates and the Nobel Prize Concert. Through these programmes, over 250 million viewers are reached all over the world.

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Disclaimer: Nobel Media AB is not directly or indirectly involved in the process of nominating or selecting Nobel Laureates. These procedures are strictly confidential and regulated by the Nobel Prize awarding institutions.