Women & Science

15th Annual Women & Science Spring Lecture and Luncheon

When Good Genes Go Bad:  Deciphering the Cancer Genome

Date: Thursday, May 10, 2012 Place: 1230 York Avenue at 66th Street
Time: 12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m   Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall
      The Rockefeller University
      New York City

Many young women who will graduate from high school this June were born in 1994, the year that scientists identified the first hereditary breast cancer gene, BRCA1. How has research progressed since then? It is now clear that a normal BRCA1 gene actually protects the genome from cancer-causing changes. Every cell’s genome is packaged into chromosomes, and every chromosome is sealed at its tips by protective structures called telomeres. Properly functioning telomeres maintain the stability of the genome and help to guard against chromosomal rearrangements that may occur as cells divide. If telomeres fail to function properly, however, they can drive genome instability and sometimes promote the formation of tumors.

Titia de Lange, the Leon Hess Professor at The Rockefeller University, is a world leader in the study of telomeres and their role in cancer. Her laboratory is now striving to understand how genome stability is preserved, and how the natural safety mechanisms that maintain stability may break down. Insights from this work could yield new approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Through studies of telomere function, members of the de Lange laboratory are elucidating the steps that lead to chromosome rearrangements, a primary feature of many cancer cells. The scientists are also thinking about how these mechanisms could be targeted in the clinic. For example, they are working on prognostic strategies for patients with DCIS—an early-stage, noninvasive form of breast cancer—in order to identify those who are likely to progress to more invasive disease and would, therefore, benefit most from more aggressive treatment.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, Dr. de Lange is director of The Rockefeller University’s Anderson Center for Cancer Research, a consortium of laboratories investigating cancer from diverse perspectives. She is the recipient of numerous research awards from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and was named an American Cancer Society Research Professor in 2009.

For ticket information please contact Amanda Martinez at (212) 327-7728 or martina@rockefeller.edu.

Honorary Chairman

David Rockefeller

Founding Chairmen

Lydia A. Forbes
Isabel P. Furlaud
Nancy M. Kissinger
Sydney R. Shuman

2017 W&S Chairmen

Judith Roth Berkowitz
Debra Black
Rebecca A. John
Denise Kellen
Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D.
Patricia P. Rosenwald
Lulu C. Wang

2017 W&S Committee

full committee listing

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