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Dr. Janet Rowley to Give First Trent Lecture

NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research Celebrates 10th Anniversary

BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 2, 2003 - Janet D. Rowley, M.D., an internationally recognized expert on leukemias and lymphomas, will present the first annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lecture in Cancer Research, Friday, Dec. 5, at 2:45 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10, at the National Institutes of Health. The Trent Lecture is part of a day-long scientific symposium - entitled From Base Pair to Bedside - commemorating the 10th anniversary of the National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI's) Division of Intramural Research (DIR).

Over the past decade, NHGRI's DIR has established itself as one of the world's premier research centers working to clarify the genetic basis of human disease. DIR investigators have been at the forefront of scientific innovation in genetics and genomics, developing a variety of research approaches that accelerate the understanding of the molecular basis of disease. These include the development of DNA microarray technologies for large-scale molecular analyses, innovative computer software to study fundamental biological problems, animal models critical to the study of human inherited disorders and the clinical testing of new therapeutic approaches for genetic disease. These and other advances may ultimately lead to improved diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies having a direct impact on human health.

Dr. Rowley, currently the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, will deliver a lecture entitled Acute Myeloid Leukemia: What We Don't Know! The Trent lecture series honors Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., who was the scientific director of the NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research from 1993 to 2002 and served as chief of its Cancer Genetics Branch. Under Dr. Trent's guidance, the division became a major research center in human genetics. His research focuses on studying molecular changes related to the predisposition to and progression of human cancers. He is currently the president and scientific director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

In the 1970s, Dr. Rowley and her colleagues led the way in characterizing a wide variety of specific genetic rearrangements, or translocations, associated with subgroups of leukemias and lymphomas. Using what were then newly developed DNA-banding techniques, she was one of the first researchers to demonstrate the fundamental role of somatic genetic alterations in the development of human tumors. Subsequently, her laboratory and many others have utilized modern molecular biology techniques to identify and characterize the altered growth regulatory genes at the sites of chromosomal abnormalities in a variety of human cancers. The results of this body of work are widely used today in the diagnosis, prognosis and management of genetic conditions. Recently, the work of Dr. Rowley and others has shown increasing promise for developing specific therapies for gene-related disorders, including the nearly curative abilities of a genetically designed drug (STI-571) for chronic myeloid leukemia.

Dr. Rowley has served on numerous boards, including the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute and the American Board of Medical Genetics. A past president of the American Society of Human Genetics, she currently serves on NHGRI's National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and on both the scientific and medical advisory boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She also is a member of a number of societies including the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Rowley is the cofounder and coeditor of the journal Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer and sits on the editorial boards of numerous scientific publications.

Dr. Rowley has been a visiting scientist at Oxford University and distinguished visiting professor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She has received honorary degrees from a number of institutions, as well as many prestigious honors and awards, including the Charles S. Mott Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, the Albert Lasker Clinical Research Award and the National Medal of Science, which was presented to her by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

In addition to the Trent Lecture, the program for DIR's 10th anniversary symposium will feature presentations from current and past faculty, as well as from scientific collaborators. A complete list of presenters and a schedule of events can be found at the DIR 10th Anniversary Web page.

NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the NIH, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at its Web site, www.genome.gov

Geoff Spencer
(301) 402-0911

Last updated: October 02, 2010