The Parker H. Petit Distinguished Lecture Series is held each fall at the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. The Distinguished Lecture Series brings nationally and internationally recognized bioengineering and bioscience leaders to the Petit Institute community to give their perspective on the future of biotechnology. Since the series began in 2002, the Petit Institute has had the distinct honor and pleasure of hosting the following lecturers:
Past Distinguished Lecturers
Kristi S. Anseth, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor, Tisone Professor, Associate Professor of Surgery, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, University of Colorado Boulder"Engineering Biomaterial Scaffolds with Dynamic and Tunable Properties"Kristi S. Anseth earned her B.S. degree from Purdue University in 1992 and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Colorado in 1994. She then conducted post-doctoral research at MIT as an NIH fellow and subsequently joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Assistant Professor in 1996. Anseth is presently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her research interests lie at the interface between biology and engineering where she designs new biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. Anseth’s research group has published over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 180 invited lectures in the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering. She was the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and received the Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest award of the National Science Foundation for demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research. In 2009, she was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Anseth is also a dedicated teacher, who has received four University Awards related to her teaching, as well as the American Society for Engineering Education’s Curtis W. McGraw Award. Anseth is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She serves on the editorial boards or as associate editor of Biomacromolecules, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research — Part A, Acta Biomaterialia, Progress in Materials Science, and Biotechnology & Bioengineering.
Cori Bargmann, Ph.D.Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior The Rockefeller University"Using Fixed Circuits to Generate Flexible Behaviors"Bargmann received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in 1987 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she worked under Robert A. Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. She pursued a postdoctoral fellowship with H. Robert Horvitz, also at MIT, until 1991, when she accepted a faculty position at the University of California, San Francisco. She remained there until 2004, when she joined Rockefeller as the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor. Dr. Bargmann also is codirector of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for Mind, Brain and Behavior. She has been an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1995. Bargmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the 2013 Breakthrough Award in Life Sciences, the 2012 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, the 2012 Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award, the 2009 Richard Lounsbery Award from the U.S. and French National Academies of Sciences and the 2004 Dargut and Milena Kemali International Prize for Research in Basic and Clinical Neurosciences. Bargmann received the 2014 NIH Director’s Award for scientific vision and leadership and received the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal in the Life Sciences.
Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D.Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State and of Chemistry at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill"Breakthroughs in Imprint Lithography and 3D Additive Fabrication to Advance NextGen Drug Delivery Technologies"
Thomas R. Cech, PhDDistinguished Professor, University of Colorado Boulder, Director, University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Recipient, Nobel Prize in Chemistry"The RNA World: Ribozymes to Long Non-coding RNAs"In 1978, Thomas R. Cech joined the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder, where he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 1988 and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1990. In 1982 Cech and his research group announced that an RNA molecule from Tetrahymena, a single-celled pond organism, cut and rejoined chemical bonds in the complete absence of proteins. Thus RNA was not restricted to being a passive carrier of genetic information, but could have an active role in cellular metabolism. This discovery of self-splicing RNA provided the first exception to the long-held belief that biological reactions are always catalyzed by proteins. In addition, it has been heralded as providing a new, plausible scenario for the origin of life; because RNA can be both an information- carrying molecule and a catalyst, perhaps the first self-reproducing system consisted of RNA alone. In January 2000, Cech moved to Maryland as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which is the nation’s largest private biomedical research organization. In addition, HHMI has an $80 million/year grants program that supports science education at all levels (K-12 through medical school) and international research. In April 2009, Cech returned to full-time research and teaching at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he also directs the University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute. Professor Cech’s work has been recognized by many national and international awards and prizes, including the Heineken Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (1988), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1988), the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1989), and the National Medal of Science (1995). In 1987 Cech was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and also awarded a lifetime professorship by the American Cancer Society, and in 2000 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. Cech received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1970 from Grinnell College, Iowa. He went on to receive his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975 and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Molecular Biology from 1975-1977.
David J. Mooney, PhDRobert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)"Biomaterials to Program Cells in situ"David Mooney is the Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. Mooney earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He designs and synthesizes new biomaterials that regulate the gene expression of interacting cells for a variety of tissue engineering and drug delivery projects. Current projects conducted in his lab focus on therapeutic angiogenesis, regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues, and cancer therapies. Mooney also plays an active role in the major biomedical and chemical engineering professional societies, serves as an editorial adviser to several journals and publishers, organizes and chairs leading conferences and symposia, and participates on several industry advisory boards.
Subra Suresh, PhDDirector, National Science Foundation"Investigation of Human Diseases at the Intersections of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Medicine"Subra Suresh was sworn in as director of the National Science Foundation on October 18, 2010, and is the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering (on leave) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds joint faculty appointments in Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biological Engineering, and Health Sciences and Technology. Suresh’s work as a researcher, educator, and academic administrator across a wide range of disciplines—including mechanical engineering, materials science, and biomedical engineering—have been recognized by academic and professional organizations around the world. His experimental and computational modeling work on the mechanical properties of structural and functional materials, his innovations in materials design and characterization, and his discoveries regarding the connections between cellular nanomechanics and human diseases such as malaria have shaped new fields at the intersections of traditional disciplines. More than 100 students, post-doctoral associates, and research scientists who trained in his group occupy prominent positions in academe, industry, and government throughout the world. He has authored or co-authored three books: Fatigue of Materials, Fundamentals of Functionally Graded Materials, and Thin Film Materials. Suresh made far-reaching contributions as a graduate student, parent, faculty member, and dean over three decades at MIT. While serving as department head in Materials Science and Engineering from 2000 to 2006, he renovated highly visible spaces along the Infinite Corridor to give the general public an insider’s view of modern materials research and instruction, and, in partnership with the Physics Department, he helped launch the Physics-DMSE-Spectroscopy-Infrastructure (PDSI) project. Suresh was founding chair of the first Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) Programme on Advanced Materials for Micro and Nano Systems and was the Institute’s lead coordinator on the creation of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center. Suresh’s interests in international, inter-institutional, and inter-disciplinary collaboration led in 2005 to the creation of Global Enterprise for MicroMechanics and Molecular Medicine (GEM4), whose membership now includes more than 12 institutions from around the world. During Suresh’s tenure as Dean the School of Engineering added more than 50 new faculty members to its ranks—more than 10% of its total. Under his leadership, the School pioneered new interdepartmental faculty searches and recruited high numbers of women and under-represented minorities to the faculty; in 2009-10, for the first time in its history, more women than men joined the faculty of MIT’s School of Engineering. Suresh also oversaw the creation of a several new initiatives: the Center for Computational Engineering, the Transportation@MIT initiative, the Bernard Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, the creation and renovation of a number of laboratory facilities, and the MIT Flexible Engineering Degree Program.
Ron McKay, PhDLieber Institute for Brain Development, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine"Controlling Stem Cells"RON MCKAY received a B.Sc. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1974 from University of Edinburgh, where he studied under Edwin Southern examining DNA organization and chromosome structure. He received postdoctoral training at University of Oxford working with Walter Bodmer examining the first restriction-fragment-length polymorphism (RFLPs) in the human genome. In 1978, he became a senior staff investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory concentrating on two areas: developing the first immunoassay for DNA-protein complexes and establishing the field of molecular neuroscience. Joining the MIT faculty in 1984, Dr. McKay identified neural stem cells as a tool to study brain development and function. In 1993 he joined the NIH as chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at NINDS. His laboratory studies pluripotent and somatic stem cells with a particular focus on regeneration of the nervous system.
Phillip A. Sharp, PhDInstitute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology."The Biology and Therapeutic Promise of Small RNAs"Much of Dr. Sharp's scientific work has been conducted at MIT's Center for Cancer Research (now the Koch Institute), which he joined in 1974 and directed from 1985 to 1991. He subsequently led the Department of Biology from 1991 to 1999 before assuming the directorship of the McGovern Institute from 2000-2004. His research interests have centered on the molecular biology of gene expression relevant to cancer and the mechanisms of RNA splicing. His landmark achievement was the discovery of RNA splicing in 1977. This work provided one of the first indications of the startling phenomenon of “discontinuous genes” in mammalian cells. The discovery that genes contain nonsense segments that are edited out by cells in the course of utilizing genetic information is important in understanding the genetic causes of cancer and other diseases. This discovery, which fundamentally changed scientists' understanding of the structure of genes, earned Dr. Sharp the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. His lab has now turned its attention to understanding how RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off (RNA interference). These newly discovered processes have revolutionized cell biology and could potentially generate a new class of therapeutics. Dr. Sharp has authored over 350 scientific papers. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, and has served on many advisory boards for the government, academic institutions, scientific societies, and companies. His awards include the Gairdner Foundation International Award, General Motors Research Foundation Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize for Cancer Research, the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the National Medal of Science and the inaugural Double Helix Medal from CSHL. He is elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. A native of Kentucky, Dr. Sharp earned a B.A. degree from Union College, KY in 1966, and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1969. He did his postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology, where he studied the molecular biology of plasmids from bacteria in Professor Norman Davidson's laboratory. Prior to joining MIT, he was Senior Scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1978 Dr. Sharp co-founded Biogen (now Biogen Idec) and in 2002 he co-founded Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage therapeutics company.
George Whitesides, PhDWoodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Harvard University"Biomaterials and Science"George M. Whitesides was born August 3, 1939 in Louisville, KY. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1960 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (with J.D. Roberts) in 1964. He was a member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. He joined the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University in 1982, and was Department Chairman 1986-89, and Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry from 1982-2004. He is now the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor.
Sir Richard SykesRector Emeritus, Imperial College London"Harnessing New Technologies to Improve Health"Sir Richard Sykes was Rector of Imperial College London from January 2001 to June 2008. During his time as Rector, Imperial became an independent university rated the fifth best in the world by the Times Higher Education Supplement. One of his over-riding priorities was to make Imperial financially secure. He established the centrally managed College Fund and led pioneering schemes, including the flotation of Imperial Innovations and a £50 million unsecured private placement borrowed over a 50 year period. During Sir Richard’s time as Rector Imperial’s campuses were transformed with new and refurbished buildings. On the South Kensington Campus the Norman Foster-designed front entrance on Exhibition Road was opened by The Queen in 2004 and Dalby Court was re-imagined, colourfully dominated by the 'blue cube' of the Faculty Building and the pink awning of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. New facilities for students included high quality accommodation in the shape of the new Southside Hall and the state of the art Ethos sports centre, offering free gym and swim to students. One of his first actions on arriving at Imperial was to introduce a faculty system, streamlining management processes and creating an environment that encouraged collaborative, cross-disciplinary research. This resulted in the growth of innovative interdisciplinary institutes and centres, including the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, the Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, bringing together researchers from across the scientific spectrum to tackle major global challenges. Other highlights during Sir Richard’s term as Rector were the College's Centenary celebrations in 2007 and the development of the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre in partnership with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Aurthur D. Collins, Jr., PhDChairman of the Board of Medtronic (retired)"Sustaining Growth in Medical Technology"Mr. Collins joined Oak Hill Capital Partners as a Senior Advisor in April, 2009. In this capacity, Mr. Collins consults across Oak Hill Capital's private equity portolio, providing advice and expertise in a variety of areas. Oak Hill Capital manages in excess of $8 billion of private equity capital and over $20 billion of investment capital. Mr. Collins assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic, Inc. in April, 2001 and became Chairman of the Board in April, 2002. He retired from Medtronic in September, 2008. He was elected Chief Operating Officer and member of the Board of Directors in 1994 and President in 1996. He joined the company in 1992 as Corporate Executive Vice President and President of Medtronic International with responsibility for all Medtronic operations outside the United States. Medtronic is the largest medical technology company in the world with revenues annualizing over $15 billion. During Mr. Collins’ tenure at Medtronic, revenue and earnings per share grew at annual compound growth rate in excess of 15 percent, while the company’s market capitalization increased from about $4 billion to about $60 billion. Doing business in more than 120 countries, Medtronic’s employment currently is about 40,000. In addition to having one of the most impressive records of sustained, superior financial performance, Medtronic is annually cited as one of the 100 Best Companies To Work For In America by Fortune Magazine. Medtronic also is continually cited as one of the most admired companies in industry and has been singled out for its strong corporate governance and commitment to philanthropy and community involvement. It is interesting to note that the most important statistic tracked within the company is not found on the balance sheet or the income statement – it is that every five seconds someone, somewhere in the world receives a Medtronic product that either significantly improves or saves their life. Mr. Collins joined Medtronic from Abbott Laboratories where he had been Corporate Vice President with responsibility for Abbott's worldwide diagnostic business units since 1986. He began his 14-year career with Abbott in 1978 as Manager of Corporate Planning and Development and moved to the Diagnostics Division a year later where he subsequently held a number of general management positions in the United States and Europe. He was elected a corporate officer in 1989. Before joining Abbott, Mr. Collins served as a naval officer from 1969 to 1973. After completing Officer Candidate School as a Distinguished Naval Graduate, he served as an officer on board a destroyer and was qualified as Officer of the Deck. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Full Lieutenant. From 1974 to 1978 Mr. Collins was a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in Chicago. While as Booz, Allen, he conducted major assignments in the areas of business strategy development, marketing, organization planning, financial analysis and financial systems design.