2012 Gairdner Award winner to share discoveries

October 23rd, 2012 · No Comments · Advisory, Medicine, News

Every cell in the body contains a complete set of DNA, but no cell uses all that information – it only uses the genes it needs to perform its function. For example, only the cells in the iris use the genes dictating eye colour. How do cells know what information to use and when to use it?

Dr. Howard Cedar is one of two scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, that have demonstrated how adding a simple chemical group (called a methyl group) to DNA affects how and when genetic information is used.

Inappropriate silencing of gene expression by DNA methylation occurs in diseases such as cancer as an alternative to permanent mutations in the DNA itself. Understanding how to turn methylation on and off could lead to treatments for this and other diseases.

“The opportunity to learn from the world’s greatest medical minds is one we hope will inspire students across the country to be imaginers, innovators, and ultimately, cultivators of the future of medicine in Canada and around the world,” says John Dirks [MD/57], President and Scientific Director of Gairdner. “Gairdner’s National Program is our way of helping to ensure that Canada continues to grow as a global leader in medical science.”

Who: Dr. Howard Cedar, 2011 Canada Gairdner International Laureate,
Professor of Molecular Biology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
What:  “Programming of DNA Methylation”, Canada Gairdner International Award
When: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Where:  Frederic Gaspard Theatre, Basic Medical Sciences Building, University of Manitoba, Bannatyne Campus, 727 McDermot Avenue

The Gairdner National Program is a month-long lecture series given by Canada Gairdner Award winners to over 6,000 students at 21 universities from St John’s to Vancouver. The National Program reaches students across the country, making the superstars of science accessible and inspiring the next generation of researchers. Along with the Canada Gairdner Awards, the National Program is part of Gairdner’s efforts to promote a stronger culture of research and innovation across the country.

For more information contact Ilana Simon, director of communications & marketing, Faculty of Medicine, at: 204-789-3427 or cell: 204-295-6777 (ilana.simon@med.umanitoba.ca).

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