UNC Health Care

Three Nobel laureates to meet at 5th Annual Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium

October 29, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The UNC School of Medicine will welcome Randy Schekman, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California-Berkeley, as the keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium on Monday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of UNC’s Medical Biomolecular Research Building (room 2204).

Schekman’s talk, entitled “Mechanisms of secretion of large particles and miRNA,” directly relates to the work that won him the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He discovered the precise mechanisms yeast use to secrete proteins, and this led to successful biotech breakthroughs in the production of insulin and human growth hormone.

After the lecture, there will be a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the MBRB ground floor lobby.

Before the lecture, Schekman will partake in a panel discussion on open access in publishing at 10 a.m. in G100 Bondurant Hall. He has taken a strong stance against “luxury journals” and led the creation of the popular online science journal eLife, where he serves as editor in chief.

The panel will also include Todd Vision, PhD, associate professor of biology at UNC-Chapel Hill and chair of the UNC Open Access Task Force; Greg Copenhaver, associate professor of biology at UNC-Chapel Hill and co-editor in chief of PLoS Genetics; and Anne Gilliland, the scholarly communications officer at UNC Libraries.

Oliver Smithies, PhD, the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of a technique called “gene targeting,” which led to the creation of transgenic mice that can replicate human disease so that researchers can develop treatments of diseases.

Smithies, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, bequeathed his Nobel Prize earnings to establish the Oliver Smithies Nobel Symposium.

Joining Smithies and Schekman will be Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD, who won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work elucidating the intricate mechanisms of DNA repair.


Media contact: Mark Derewicz, 984-974-1915, mark.derewicz@unchealth.unc.edu