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Biologist to Deliver Discovery Lecture

May 2, 2011 | Bill Snyder

Renowned molecular biologist and Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, Ph.D., will discuss “The Meaning of Race in the Post-Genome Era” at the next Discovery Lecture on Thursday, May 5.

Tilghman, who participated in cloning the first mammalian gene as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and founding director of Princeton’s multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

The lecture, which begins at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall, is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

A native of Canada, Tilghman received her Honors B.Sc. in Chemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. After two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa, she obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia.

She was an independent investigator at Philadelphia’s Institute for Cancer Research (now the Fox Chase Cancer Center) before joining the Princeton faculty in 1986.

A member of the National Research Council’s committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project, Tilghman also was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project for the NIH.

Although she no longer has an active research laboratory, Tilghman, a professor of Molecular Biology, continues to serve as a thesis adviser and last fall taught a popular freshman seminar entitled “How the Tabby Cat Got Her Stripes or The Silence of the Genes.”

Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the Royal Society of London. She serves as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and as a director of Google Inc.