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A lecture by Nobel laureate Jack Szostak inaugurates the new Master's Degree in Integrative Synthetic Biology

  • October 1st, 2021
Jack Szostak

Jack W. Szostak, professor at Harvard University and 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, inaugurates the Master in Integrative Synthetic Biology MISB (UIMP-CSIC) with the lecture "The Origin of Cellular Life". It will be held online, next Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 16:00 h CET and can be followed through the CSIC YouTube channel.

Jack W. Szostak is Professor of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Genetics at Harvard University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider. The award recognized the study of the role of telomeres and telomerase in preventing chromosome degradation, a discovery that revolutionized cellular aging research.

Current research in the Szostak lab focuses on the origin and early evolution of life, as well as the laboratory synthesis of simple cell-mimicking systems.  Szostak has pioneered the study of the experimental evolution of catalytic RNAs, in search of an RNA that can copy itself. In addition, he has made very notable contributions to the development of protocellular systems in the test tube using a systems chemistry strategy in which component heterogeneity plays a central role.

Professor Szostak's lecture "The Origin of Cellular Life" inaugurates the first edition of the Master in Integrative Synthetic Biology MISB, an initiative of CSIC and the Menéndez Pelayo International University UIMP. The MISB is the first graduate school on synthetic biology in Spain. It is a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS) whose objective is to provide students (coming from degrees in life sciences, physicochemical sciences, technology and engineering) with an integrated program of training, research and innovation in synthetic biology in an advanced scientific environment.

The MISB is a collective action of higher education of the main CSIC centers on integrative synthetic biology: the CIB Margarita Salas (which coordinates the master's degree), the National Center of Biotechnology (CNB) and the Institute of Integrative Biology and Systems of Valencia (I2SysBio, Universitat de València-CSIC). In addition, it has the active participation of the biologically oriented research programs of the Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano (IQFR), and groups from other CSIC institutes, and several academic and research centers, both national and foreign.

This event is also part of the activities of the CSIC CONEXION-VIDA network recently created on the basis of the CSIC Challenge "Origins, Co-Evolution, Diversity and Synthesis of Life".