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Dr. Joan Steitz to give 2017 Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Retreat Keynote Address

Joan Steitz, PhD, will give the keynote address at the 2017 Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program Student & Alumni Retreat to be held on July 27-28, 2017. Dr. Steitz is currently the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, where she also conducts research in her lab.

Steitz is known for her pioneering work in RNA. She and her student Michael Lerner discovered and defined the function of small ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in pre-messenger RNA—the earliest product of DNA transcription—and was the first to learn that these cellular complexes (snRNPs) play a key role in processing messenger RNA by excising noncoding regions and splicing together the resulting segments. Her breakthroughs into the previously mysterious splicing process have clarified the science behind the formation of proteins and other biological processes, including the intricate changes that occur as the immune system and brain develop.

After obtaining her Bachelor's degree from Antioch College and a PhD from Harvard University, Steitz completed postdoctoral work in Cambridge, England. She joined the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale as an assistant professor in 1970 and later became an associate and full professor, as well as chair of the department. Dr. Steitz has received several Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from several institutions including Harvard University, Trinity College, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Brown University, Princeton University, Columbia University, and Rockefeller University. In addition to her appointment at Yale, she is also currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Cell Biology, Editorial Board Member of Genes and Development, and is on the Committee on Scientific Affairs at Rockefeller University.

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