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Symposium to herald opening of Pharmacy/Biology Building

by Cindy Weiss - October 17, 2005

Bert Hoelldobler, a world renowned expert on ant behavior and the behavioral ecology of invertebrates, will speak during a half-day symposium celebrating the dedication of the new Pharmacy/Biology Building on Friday, Oct. 21.

Hoelldobler, the Foundation Professor of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, in 1991 co-authored with E.O. Wilson The Ants, which won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. It is the only professional science work to win a Pulitzer.

A later book, Journey to the Ants, was written in a less technical vein and was described by reviewers as “a page-turner” (New York Times Book Review) and “full of ant lore and ant facts … full of the precision and childlike wonder Hoelldobler and Wilson have brought to their field” (Newsday).

Hoelldobler was previously the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University and the Chair of Behavioral Physiology and Sociobiology at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences.

His talk, at 9 a.m. on Oct. 21 in Chemistry A120, leads off a morning symposium organized by two departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that have faculty in the new building – ecology and evolutionary biology and physiology and neurobiology – and the pharmaceutical sciences department in the School of Pharmacy. The dedication will be held at 2 p.m., followed by a reception and tours.

The other speakers at the symposium, which is open to the public, are Dr. Paul Talalay, the John Jacob Abel Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and John William Daly, scientist emeritus from the National Institutes of Health.

Talalay, who will speak at 10:20 a.m., has devoted his career to cancer research and is considered a pioneer in devising strategies for chemoprotection against the risk of cancer. His work led to the isolation of sulforaphane as the most potent inducer of protective enzymes in broccoli, and the development of a laboratory at Johns Hopkins that is dedicated to identifying

edible plants that induce protective enzymes. Talalay is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and recently was awarded the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research.

Daly, who spent 40 years at NIH, will speak at 11:40 a.m. Daly was head of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease’s Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, one of the oldest labs at NIH.He has studied the molecular basis for the biological activity of hormones, drugs, and natural products. He is known for his explorations of Central and South American rainforests to find poisonous frogs, whose skins contain biologically active compounds. His work has led to the isolation of 400 new alkaloids, including epibatidine, which is 200 times more effective than morphine. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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