Miami University welcomes Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at the Yale University School of Medicine and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who will present "Noncoding RNAs: with a Viral Twist" at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in 100 Hughes Laboratories.
Her talk is the annual Ritter Lecture of the department of chemistry and biochemistry.
She will also present "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Prospects for Women in Science" at 4 p.m. Friday, March 2.
In 1963, Steitz became the sole woman in the first class to begin graduate studies in biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard University. She was also the first female graduate student to work under the guidance of James Watson.
She is best known for discovering and defining the function of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which occur only in higher cells and organisms. She has pioneered groundbreaking insights into ribosome function translation, RNA splicing, and more recently, microRNA function.
Steitz has also been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights in the sciences.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2008) — America’s largest prize in medicine — the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1976), the National Medal of Science (1986), the RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2004) and the National Cancer Institute’s Rosalind E. Franklin Award for Women in Science (2006), among others. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The lectures will be preceded by receptions at 3:30 p.m. in 142 Hughes Laboratories.
Free and open to the public, they are sponsored by the department of chemistry and biochemistry and co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Science, the departments of botany, microbiology and zoology and the cell, molecular and structural biology (CMSB) graduate program.