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WIS at the CIG includes Nobel Laureate!

posted May 27, 2015, 2:16 PM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Jun 1, 2015, 6:18 AM ]
A special Women in Science event at the the University of Lausanne's Center for Integrative Genomics will include a dinner with the Nobel Laureate, Carol Greider, one of those who were awarded the prize for their studies of chromosomal ends and discovery of telomerase!!!  This event is all part of a symposium to celebrate the first decade of existence for this research center, where so much exciting work has already been going on (for instance, this recent study on RNA PolIII activity and obesity!  Such possibilities could come from this story! *).  

Of course, the telomerase (an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase or reverse transcriptase) story* is fascinating, and telomeres are key elements that protect cells from loss of genomic integrity and fusion of chromosomes.  They are also implicated in aging, although puzzles still remain: for instance, why do mice and other rodents have such long telomeres, but Drosophila none (instead, for the fly, retrotransposon 'jumping' - of course, also using an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase - fulfills the need to lengthen linear chromosomal ends)?
Again, nonetheless, one can invoke the 'RNA taking care of DNA' rule with little effort…  :)  ** 

Anyway, yours truly will attend not only that special dinner after the keynote presentation, but also the full symposium, where many exciting talks are expected, including studies on long non-coding RNAs, chromatin structure, and genomics in model organisms (like the 'worm,' C. elegans!), and even one by the head of the lab adjacent to the one where her studies toward a doctorate were pursued!  (& maybe this speaker will wonder who that familiar person might be, after so many years, from *before* we even knew part of what myc might really be doing!)  

Looking forward to the 11/12th of June!
Maybe I will see some of you there (I know already that at least one friend will be at the dinner, too! :)?

* 'stories' or narratives are how our minds usually like to think, of course… 
(Unfortunately, also, however, this type of thinking can be in spite of statistical considerations that are something that needs a bit more effort than we generally enjoy… This has been described and demonstrated very well by Daniel Kahneman, even if I think his 'risk taking' studies are not as interesting as this theory of mind systems.) 

** as another side note, I will just add that the recent Neal Stephenson story, while it does have an interesting perspective about epigenetics, and enjoyable plotline - so far, makes it clear that the RNA aspect to genomic considerations seems not to have reached that author, let alone an idea of genomic integrity, basically pulling together all molecular genetic aspects of cells…  maybe one day?