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Sounding the Alarm on a Coming Epidemic

  • Dr. Gregory Petsko.
    Dr. Gregory Petsko.

Location: Hynson Lounge

September 15, 2014
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Gregory Petsko, an expert advocate for more research into the cause and cure of ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases, will speak Sept. 15 in Hynson Lounge.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—An acclaimed biochemist known for his advocacy for more research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), will offer a free public lecture at Washington College on Monday, September 15.

Gregory A. Petsko, Professor of Neurology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, will speak at 4:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. The title of his presentation is “The Coming Epidemic of Neurodegenerative Diseases and What Science Is – and Should Be – Doing About It.”

Much of Petsko’s research has centered on three-dimensional structures of proteins and their biochemical functions and on the causes and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. He has lectured widely on the impact of the world’s aging population on neurological health and healthcare. His four-minute TED talk on the topic has drawn more than 637,000 views since it was posted in 2008.

Prior to joining Cornell’s medical school earlier this year, Petsko taught biochemistry and chemistry at Brandeis University, where he was director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center for more than a decade.

He has received numerous scientific awards, including the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry from the American Chemical Society for developing methods to visualize reaction intermediates in three dimensions at atomic resolution, and the Max Planck Prize for his work on the origins of some human cancers. He is cofounder of the journal Protein Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Petsko is visiting Chestertown as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, hosted by the Washington College chapter of PBK. The national Visiting Scholars Program provides opportunities for a select group of distinguished scholars such as Petsko to spend time with undergraduates on PBK-affiliated campuses across the country. While at Washington College, Petsko will lecture in three science classes and meet informally with Washington College students and faculty.

Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest academic honor society in the nation. Its mission is to champion liberal education, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. Membership is widely considered to be the most highly regarded mark of academic distinction for undergraduate students in liberal studies. Washington College is one of 283 colleges and universities to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.


Last modified on Sep. 5th, 2014 at 9:47am by .