UofL hosts address by Nobel Laureate, DNA structure co-discoverer James Watson


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – James D. Watson, Ph.D., winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins for the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, will present “Curing Incurable Cancer” and attend other events associated with the Kentucky Derby. Watson’s appearances are sponsored by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville.

    Watson’s lecture will be 10-11 a.m., Thursday, May 5, at the Brown Theater, 315 W. Broadway. Admission is free but advance reservations are required at (502) 562-8021 or andrea.tankersley@louisville.edu.

    Following the lecture, Watson will have lunch with the Brown Fellows, a group of University of Louisville and Centre College freshmen and sophomores. Named for the businessman and philanthropist James Graham Brown, the Brown Fellows Program is designed to provide a diverse group of students the opportunity to build leadership skills through academic enrichment, expanded opportunity and personal accountability. The James Graham Brown Foundation administers the program.

    Watson also will participate in the awarding of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Scientist of the Year Award, presented annually on Derby Eve at the Julep Ball to a cancer center researcher for exceptional work. This year, the Julep Ball will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, May 6, at the Galt House Hotel and Suites, 140 N. Fourth St.

    “The University of Louisville is an exciting place to be these days. Dr. Watson will see and feel the energy we’re pouring into research and innovation, something a Nobel Prize winner understands and appreciates,” UofL President James R. Ramsey said. “At the same time, this is an uncommon opportunity for our students and our community to see and hear one of the greatest scientific pioneers of our time. The University of Louisville is proud to make this opportunity available.”

    “We are very fortunate to have one of the world’s most revered scientists joining us for this occasion. Dr. Watson has inspired thousands of successful scientists and has had a huge impact on the development of science over the past 60 years,” Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, said.

    More than 50 years after Crick, Watson and Wilkins published their work showing the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), their discovery still stands as one of the world’s greatest scientific breakthroughs. By identifying what had been the elusive picture of DNA, they enabled future scientists to make great strides in understanding the human genome and the importance of DNA to life.

    Information about the James Graham Brown Cancer Center is available at www.browncancercenter.org. For information about the Julep Ball, visit www.julepball.org and www.derbyexperiences.com.

    About James D. Watson, Ph.D.

    James D. Watson, Ph.D., received the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery in 1953, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, of the double helical structure of DNA.

    Watson was director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York from 1968 to 1993. During that period he was the driving force behind the conception and completion of the Human Genome Project and was the first director of the National Center for Human Genome Research from 1989 to 1992.

    He is currently serving as Chancellor-Emeritus of the Cold Spring Harbor Lab. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science and many other honors. He is a distinguished author whose works include The Double Helix and the groundbreaking text, The Molecular Biology of the Gene.

    About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center

    The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center and UofL Health Care. As the region’s leading cancer teaching, clinical and research center, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center enables patients to benefit from the latest medical advances, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings.

    The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program and the National Cancer Institute. The center is making great strides with an aggressive plan to become a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center.

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.