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Science in Medicine Lecture Series

The Science in Medicine Lecture Series was officially established in 1976 as a means of recognizing and honoring notable School of Medicine faculty research achievements and providing an opportunity for researchers to be apprised of findings outside of their immediate fields.

The series offers lectures in four categories: Science in Medicine Lectures, New Investigator Lectures, the Distinguished Scientist Lecture and the Annual Lecture. The speakers are nominated by members of the UW scientific community and final selection is determined by a committee of peers from the Council on Research and Graduate Education (CORGE).

New Investigator Lectures

The New Investigator Lectures, initiated in 1988, provide an important forum for the UW School of Medicine to learn about exceptional junior faculty members' current scientific research.

John Tuthill

John Tuthill, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Physiology and Biophysics

New Investigator Lecture: How the Brain Encodes the Body: Neural Mechanisms of Proprioception and Motor Control
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
12:00 PM-1:00 PM | T-739 
University of Washington

Summary: To coordinate complex movements like walking or dancing, the brain must keep track of where the body is in space. This is accomplished through a "sixth sense", known as proprioception. Even though proprioception is so important to how we move through the world, we lack a basic understanding of how it works. We are working to understand how proprioceptive stimuli are detected by mechanosensory neurons, integrated and transformed by the brain, and subsequently used to guide motor behavior. The insights from this work might help guide strategies to restore proprioceptive sensation to patients with sensory neuropathy or ameliorate pathological conditions like chronic joint pain.

Kelley Harris, Ph.D.

Kelley Harris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Genome Sciences

New Investigator Lecture: Tracing the Evolution of Genomic Mutability 
Thursday, October 24, 2019
1:00 PM- 2:00 PM | Foege Auditorium
University of Washington

Summary: Genetic mutation is the ultimate force that creates and destroys life: all adaptations, cancers, and debilitating genetic diseases are set in motion when a cell divides and transmits an imperfect copy of its DNA to one of its daughter cells. As such, DNA replication fidelity is a trait with far reaching effects on both human health and the dynamics of evolution. Mutation rates vary between sites in the genome and also between closely related species, but little is known about the complex covariance of mutation rates across genomic space and evolutionary time. My lab is using genetic variation from diverse organisms to interrogate how mutational landscapes vary and evolve.

Whitney Harrington

Whitney Harrington, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Infectious Diseases

New Investigator Lecture: Intergenerational Immune Interactions: The Role of  Maternal Cells in the Development of Fetal and Infant Immunity
Thursday, November 14, 2019
1:00-2:00 PM | Foege Auditorium
University of Washington

Summary: During pregnancy maternal cells traffic from the mother into the fetus and become widely distributed throughout the body, a phenomenon known as maternal microchimerism. We are interested in understanding how these maternal cells affect fetal and infant immune development, response to immunization, and susceptibility to infection. The insights from this work will improve our understanding of these intergenerational immune interactions and may lead to novel prevention strategies for malaria, HIV, and other infections.

Science in Medicine Lectures

Science in Medicine Lecturers are accomplished faculty selected in recognition of their research as well as for a recent exciting discovery. On behalf of the School of Medicine and the Council on Research and Graduate Education, we congratulate the presenting 2018/19 Science in Medicine Lecturers.

Stephanie Page

Stephanie Page, M.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition
Section Head, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Harborview Medical Center

Stephanie focuses her research on male reproduction. Her current investigations are centered on understanding the impact of sex steroids on obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and lipids in men. 

Science in Medicine Lecture: A 'Pill' for Him: Efforts to Develop Male Contraceptives
Thursday, February 13, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Foege Auditorium
University of Washington

Summary: Despite a variety of effective, reversible and safe female contraceptives, >40% of pregnancies worldwide, including in the US, are unplanned.  My work aims to develop and evaluate reversible male hormonal contraceptives, allowing men to more fully engage in and share the burden of contraception with their partners to reduce unplanned pregnancy.  Clinical trials of prototype male contraceptives, including a “male pill”, a long-acting injection, and a daily transdermal gel have demonstrated promising results.  Our group is focused on optimizing delivery methods and effectiveness, delineating and minimizing adverse effects and assessing the acceptability and potential societal and cultural effects of male hormonal contraceptives.     

Julie Park

Julie R. Park, M.D.

Associate Professor, SOM: Pediatrics: Hematology-Oncology: Hematology-Oncology
Professor, PEDS - Hematology-Oncology
Bushnell, Towne, WIlderson Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neuroblastoma, Pediatrics

Dr. Park's primary research focus has been investigating novel therapies for the treatment of refractory and recurrent cancers with a specific focus on high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare but aggressive form of childhood cancer. 

Science in Medicine Lecture: Neuroblastoma: A Paradigm for Pediatric Cancer Therapy
Thursday, March 5, 2020
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | HSB Health Sciences Building T-733

Summary: Neuroblastoma is a heterogenous disease with disparate outcomes ranging from spontaneous resolution and excellent survival to aggressive metastatic disease. For those patients with the most aggressive disease, randomized clinical trials have established a standard therapy that includes the incorporation of topotecan into induction phase of therapy, utilization of tandem hematopoietic stem cell transplant as dose intensification of post-induction therapy and the addition of anti-GD2 antibody therapy as treatment of minimal residual disease. Unfortunately, approximately half of children will still die from disease. Ongoing research to improve efficacy of anti-GD2 antibody therapy and to utilize novel cellular immunotherapeutic approaches are underway.

Jose Lopez

José López, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Hematology
Bloodworks Northwest Faculty
Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, Mechanical Engineering, and Pathology

The López laboratory has been involved for many years in studies aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms of platelet adhesion and the roles that platelets play in inflammation. 

Science in Medicine Lecture:
Postponed until Fall 2020
University of Washington

Summary: Dr. José A. López, M.D. is Professor of Medicine (Hematology) and adjunct Professor in the departments of Biochemistry, Pathology, and Mechanical Engineering. His primary appointment is as Full Member at the Bloodworks Research Institute. Throughout his career, Dr. López has investigated the molecular basis of the interactions of blood cells with the vessel wall and the physiological and clinical consequences of these interactions. In his talk, he will discuss the biology and biochemistry of the platelet adhesive protein von Willebrand factor and the pathophysiologic consequences of its persistence on the walls of blood vessels.

Distinguished Scientist Lecture

Inaugurated in 1993, the Distinguished Scientist Lecture recognizes an accomplished UW senior scientist for outstanding achievements in his or her field of research.

Ning Zheng

Ning Zheng, Ph.D.

Professor, Pharmacology

Ning Zheng seeks to understand the intricate interactions and coordinated functions of proteins and signaling molecules found in plants and animals, including humans. Using a structural biology approach, Zheng and his team conduct studies that span several interwoven research areas, including ubiquitination, transcription, plant biology, ion channels, circadian clocks, and drug discovery. Their overarching goal is to apply the underlying biological principles they learn to the development of novel therapeutics as well as to the planet’s ecological balance.

Distinguished Scientist Lecture: Targeted Protein Degradation in Biology and Drug Discovery

Postponed until Fall 2020
University of Washington
Summary: Research in the Zheng lab seeks to understand the intricate interactions and coordinated functions of proteins and signaling molecules found in eukaryotes ranging from fungi, plants to humans. Using a structural biology approach, Zheng and his team conduct studies that span several interwoven research areas, including protein ubiquitination, cell signaling, epigenetic regulation, plant hormones, ion channels, and circadian clocks. Their overarching goal is to apply the underlying biological principles they learn to the development of novel therapeutics as well as to the planet’s ecological balance. This lecture will focus on the latest advances in our understanding of targeted protein degradation and its promising potential for drug discovery.

Annual Lecture

The first Annual Lecture was presented in 1973 and later became incorporated into the official Science in Medicine Series. The Annual Lecture recognizes a prominent, nationally recognized scientist whose research has had a profound impact on his or her field.

Jeffrey Gordon, M.D.

Jeffrey Gordon, M.D.

Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis 
Professor, Pathology & Immunology 
Professor, Developmental Biology

Annual Lecture: Development of microbiota-directed complementary foods for treating childhood undernutrition

Postponed until Fall 2020
University of Washington

Summary: Human postnatal development is typically viewed from the perspective of our ‘human’ organs. As we come to appreciate how our microbial communities are assembled following birth, there is an opportunity to determine how this microbial facet of our developmental biology is related to healthy growth as well as to the risk for and manifestations of disorders that produce abnormal growth. We are testing the hypothesis that perturbations in the normal development of the gut microbiota are causally related to childhood undernutrition, a devastating global health problem whose long-term sequelae, including stunting, neurodevelopmental abnormalities and immune dysfunction, remain largely refractory to current therapeutic interventions. The journey to preclinical proof-of-concept, and the path forward to clinical proof-of-concept emphasize the opportunities and challenges for developing microbiota-directed therapeutics.

For questions regarding the Science in Medicine Lecture Series, please contact the Office of Research and Graduate Education at 206.221.5807 or email​