Patrick Cramer to Deliver 2020 Hilldale Lecture in Biological Sciences in late January

Patrick Cramer of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry will give the prestigious UW–Madison 2020 Hilldale Lecture in Biological Sciences in late January. All members of the campus community and public are invited to attend the lecture on eukaryotic gene expression and transcription at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23 in the Ebling Symposium Center, Microbial Sciences Building (1550 Linden Drive).

Cramer is a world-renowned leader in the study of transcriptional regulation, including both state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to understand the structural basis of mammalian transcription and its regulation as well as new genome-scale, high-throughput sequencing methods to measure gene expression and regulation. His research has been and remains at the forefront of understanding how gene expression in eukaryotes is programmed and regulated.

His Hilldale Lecture will be for a general scientific audience and will provide an outstanding opportunity for all in the UW–Madison community who would like to learn where the science of gene regulation stands today.

Cramer solidified himself as a leader in this field as a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Roger Kornberg at Stanford University. There he was the primary author on the first work showing the structure of eukaryotic RNA polymerase, which underpinned Kornberg’s 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He’s been on the cutting edge of research in the area ever since, with recent work in mammals. Understanding the molecular and structural basis of gene expression and transcription is integral to learning how to fight the many diseases caused by errors in these processes.

“The lecture will be a great modern, up-to-date picture of how genes are expressed and how they are transcribed,” says biochemistry professor Robert Landick, who is the faculty host for the seminar. “There has been a lot of progress in the field in the last five to 10 years and this will be an update of all that we’ve learned. With cryo-EM technologies taking shape on campus, it’ll be valuable to look at how he’s utilizing this technique.”

Among other awards, Cramer is the recipient of the Centenary Award of the British Biochemical Society, the Arthur Burkhardt Prize, the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Paula und Richard von Hertwig Prize, the Feldberg Foundation Prize, the Medal of Honour of the Robert Koch Institute, and the Glaxo-Smith-Kline Science Award for Basic Medical Research.

His lecture is titled “Transcription of the eukaryote genome: mechanisms and regulatory strategies” and will be followed by a reception. He also will give a more specialized lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 in Room 1211 of the Biochemical Sciences Building (440 Henry Mall). It will be titled “Integrated structural biology of eukaryotic transcription” and will include new approaches to cryo-EM.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Hilldale Awards and Hilldale Lecture Series are supported by the Hilldale Fund and sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Divisional Committee, Biological Sciences Divisional Committee, Physical Sciences Divisional Committee, and Social Sciences Divisional Committee. Since 1973-1974, the Hilldale Lecture Series has showcased distinguished thinkers whose contributions to contemporary culture and science have received international recognition and acclaim.