Lecture event, featuring the 1985 Nobel laureate Michael S. Brown

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded only to those who have made the most important discoveries in these fields. Their time in the pubic spotlight is brief, even as their contributions continue to influence those who follow. To make that spotlight shine a little brighter and longer, the AstraZeneca Nobel Medicine Initiative (AZNMI) is sharing the inspiring achievements of Nobel laureates with a broad global audience.

The AstraZeneca collaboration with Nobel Media is intended to increase the general public’s understanding and interest in basic research and to explain the benefits of breakthrough science to improved patient health. Core elements include a lecture series at AZ research sites around the world; educational Internet productions for young students to further explain the benefits of Nobel Prize-awarded discoveries; and television documentaries, the first being “The Mystery of Memory,” which explores scientific research on the biological workings of memory.

Watch our lecture event, featuring the 1985 Nobel laureate Michael S. Brown

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“Among our aims with AZNMI is to interest students in the life sciences, so they deepen their studies in this area, pursue university degrees and develop an awareness of AstraZeneca as a potential employer,” says Kjell Andersson, Global Project Leader for AZNMI. “Of course, academia is of great importance to us in scientific collaborations, and so we invite universities to participate in our lecture events. Internally, to have Nobel laureates onsite, engaged in roundtable discussions with our scientists, physicians and senior leaders, is always a fantastic opportunity and a true inspiration.”

Most recently, AstraZeneca hosted its second global lecture event, featuring the 1985 Nobel laureate Michael S. Brown. He and his long-time colleague Joseph L. Goldstein were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism."

During a two-day event in mid-May, Brown spoke at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, with approximately 400 students and faculty attending, and at the AstraZeneca US headquarters in Wilmington, for several hundred members of the local AZ community. His presentation, “Partnerships, Puzzles and Paradigms: A Collaborative Approach to Cholesterol,” focused on the power of partnerships and the extraordinary things made possible through collaboration. Following his presentation in Wilmington, Brown and Martin Mackay, President, R&D, discussed the value of collaboration in front of the same audience.

“This was a truly great experience for everyone involved in the various events with Dr. Brown,” says Jim Blasetto, VP US Strategic Development, who helped spearhead this event in the US. “He’s an interesting and inspirational scientist who was generous in sharing his wealth of knowledge and perspective. Having this kind of discussion at the scientific level, and the personal interactions, was nothing short of superb.”

The first lecture event in the series was held jointly at the University of Manchester, UK, and AZ Alderley Park late last year. It featured 2001 Nobel laureate Tim Hunt who, along with his collaborators, were honored “for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle."

The next lecture event is scheduled for three days in September, in China, featuring 2005 Nobel laureate Barry J. Marshall. He and J. Robin Warren were jointly awarded the prize "for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease."

The lectures will take place at AstraZeneca China and Fudan University, both in Shanghai, and Peking University in Beijing.

AZNMI will continue to shine a brighter spotlight on the achievements of Nobel laureates to inspire the scientific community and others by sharing their stories and how their discoveries advance scientific understanding of the human body.

Read more about AZNMI