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Release: March 27, 2000

Nobel laureate Stanley Prusiner to speak at UI April 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, will deliver a lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 6 at the University of Iowa Levitt Center for University Advancement.

Prusiner's lecture, "Prions and the Brain," is a regional event sponsored by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. The lecture is free and open to UI faculty, students, staff and the public. Registration is recommended. To register, please call (319) 335-8064 or register via e-mail at

Prusiner is director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and professor of neurology and biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). An editor of eight books and author of more than 250 research articles, Prusiner's contributions to scientific research have been internationally recognized.

His Nobel Prize-winning research centered on his discovery of prions, protein particles that are considered to be the cause of various infectious diseases of the central nervous system, such as scrapie, "mad cow disease" and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Prusiner proposed what many scientists considered to be the heretical idea that prions are composed only of protein and are devoid of nucleic acid. Previously, scientists believed that transmissible central nervous system diseases were caused by slow-acting viruses. Prusiner's studies demonstrated how an infectious pathogen lacking nucleic acid could multiply and cause central nervous system degeneration. His work significantly changed the way scientists and physicians think about diseases of the central nervous system and may have profound implications for future biomedical research.

Prusiner received his undergraduate and medical training at the University of Pennsylvania and his postgraduate clinical training at UCSF.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society, London.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Prusiner is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Richard Lounsbery Award for Extraordinary Scientific Research in Biology and Medicine from the National Academy of Sciences (1993); the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1994); the Wolf Prize in Medicine from the State of Israel (1996); the Keio International Award for Medical Science (1996); and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University (1997).

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the UI College of Medicine in advance at (319) 335-8064.

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