UTHSC Hosts Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, MD, DSc

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Aaron Ciechanover (right) stops for a picture with UTHSC Vice Chancellor for Research Steven Goodman. (Photo by Joseph Martin)

From January 14-17, 2018, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) Office of Research hosted Israeli biochemist and 2004 Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover, MD, DSc, as part of the Vice Chancellor for Research’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Created by UTHSC Vice Chancellor for Research Steven R. Goodman, PhD, the speaker series aims to bring prestigious leaders in the field of biomedical research to the institution so they can share their knowledge and expertise with the university. Invited speakers typically spend two to three days on UTHSC’s campus interacting with faculty and administration, and delivering a scientific lecture.

“Since 2016, I have had the honor of welcoming over a dozen prominent investigators ranging in expertise from Sickle Cell Disease to translational genomics and cancer,” said Dr. Goodman. “Dr. Ciechanover is a world leader in the field of biochemistry and a personal friend, and I wanted UTHSC’s researchers to have the ability to learn from and interact with him.”

It took over eight months of planning by a committee of leaders from various areas across UTHSC’s campus, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Memphis, and the Memphis community at large to plan Dr. Ciechanover’s four-day visit. During his visit, Dr. Ciechanover met with researchers and students from UTHSC, St. Jude, and the University of Memphis. He also toured St. Jude’s campus, delivered a scientific lecture entitled “The Ubiquitin Proteolytic System: From Basic Mechanisms Thru Human Diseases and on to Drug Targeting,” hosted a community conversation at the Memphis Jewish Community Center, explored the infamous Beale Street and even visited Graceland.

Ciechanover lectured to 160 researchers in the Marlo Thomas Auditorium at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (Photo by Joseph Martin)

However, no one could have predicted the winter storm that closed UTHSC for two days during Dr. Ciechanover’s trip. It was thanks to the outstanding partnership that UTHSC has with St. Jude that Dr. Ciechanover was able to deliver his scientific lecture on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 16, 2018, to an audience of over 160 researchers in the Marlo Thomas Auditorium.

“When I asked Dr. Ciechanover to visit, I understood that it would take a team to make his visit a success,” said Dr. Goodman. “I am immensely proud of all the people that dedicated their time and resources to make Dr. Ciechanover’s visit happen, and am so grateful to St. Jude. They definitely helped save our day.”

*Writer’s Note: UTHSC’s Office of Research is working to make Dr. Ciechanover’s scientific presentation viewable to the community. An announcement will be made once the recording is available.