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September 29/06 11:09 am - 6th Annual Gairdner Public Lecture


Posted by Editoress on 09/29/06
 

6th Annual Gairdner Public Lecture

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The 6th Annual Gairdner Public Lecture will take place in Toronto on Tuesday, October 24. The speaker is Dr. Ronald Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and his topic will be "Winning and Losing: Engineering the genome to enhance athletic performance."

Biologist Ronald Evans is one of the world's authorities on how hormones function within cells, dictating everything from human development to one's propensity to become fat or contract certain diseases and conditions.

In 2003, the Institute for Scientific Information, which keeps track of how often scientists refer to others' published work, ranked Evans the 10th most-cited scientist in the world in any field.

Evans helped develop the first transgenic mouse. He discovered a superfamily of hormone receptors with immediate and profound medical applications. He has conducted seminal research in everything from obesity to heart disease to age-related changes in the brain.

Knowing which receptors work with certain hormones means it is now possible to design drugs specifically targeted to a wide range of diseases or conditions, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Dr. Evans will speak about how engineering genes or altering their function with drugs can affect athletic performance. To many observers, engineering genetics of muscle to improve athletic performance is little more than highly advanced doping. The fact that doping is universally frowned upon seems to have done nothing to affect its popularity, and experts such as Dick Pound, the Canadian head of the World Anti Doping Agency, claim that the cure for doping is having better technology than the dopers do. But is genomic engineering doping? Is it cheating? Should new drugs that enhance performance be developed?

An enormous potential exists to revolutionize medicine‚s approach to curing disease and improving life quality. The evening‚s program will also provide an opportunity for discussion of the potential abuses of such knowledge and the ethical concerns inherent in the issue -- from three different perspectives -- from the science media, Peter Calamai, national science reporter, the Toronto Star; from the Olympics, Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee; and from the world of medicine and education, Dr. Catharine Whiteside, Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Free Admission with Reserved Seating - Registration Required. Call 416-596-6850 and leave full name and contact information for confirmation. For information visit www.gairdner.org.

 


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