Finding and understanding the nature of the first stars at cosmic dawn is one of the most important and most ambitious goals for modern astrophysics. The first populations of stars produced the first chemical elements heavier than helium and formed the first, small protogalaxies, which then evolved, across the cosmic epoch, into the large and mature galaxies, such as the Milky Way and those in our local neighbour. Equally important and equally challenging is the search, in the early Universe, of the seeds of the first population of black holes, which later evolved in the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, with masses even exceeding a billion times the mass of the Sun. When matter accretes on such supermassive black holes it can become so luminous to vastly outshine the light emitted by all stars in their host galaxy.Since its launch, about two years ago, the James Webb Space Telescope has been revolutionizing this area of research. Its sensitivity in detecting infrared light from the remotest parts of the Universe is orders of magnitude higher than any previous observatory, an historical leap in astronomy and, more broadly, in science. I will presents some of the first, extraordinary discoveries from the Webb telescope, which have resulted in several unexpected findings. I will also discuss the new puzzles and areas of investigation that have been opened by Webb’s observations, how these challenge theoretical models, and the prospects of further progress in the coming years.
The maintenance of oxygen homeostasis is a key physiological challenge, inadequate oxygen (hypoxia) being a major component of most human diseases. The lecture will trace insights into human oxygen homeostasis from the founding work of William Harvey on the circulation of the blood to the molecular elucidation of a system of oxygen sensing that functions to measure oxygen levels in cells and control adaptive responses to hypoxia. The lecture will outline how the oxygen sensitive signal is generated by a set of ‘oxygen splitting’ enzymes that modify a transcription factor (HIF) to signal for its degradation (and hence inactivation). It will attempt to illustrate and rationalise the unexpected in biological discovery and discuss the interface of discovery science with the development of medical therapeutics.
The human brain sets us apart as a species, yet how it develops and functions differently to that of other mammals is still largely unclear. This also makes it difficult to understand how disorders of the brain arise, and therefore how to treat them. To understand such a complex organ, we have developed cerebral organoids, or brain organoids, 3D brain tissues made from stem cells that mimic the fetal brain. Such organoids are allowing us to tackle questions previously impossible with more traditional approaches. Indeed, our recent findings provide insight into various factors that influence the developing brain, and how the human brain becomes so uniquely large enabling our special cognitive abilities.
Recent advances in the sciences underpinning medicine, and their translation to clinical impact, are transforming our ability to understand and treat human diseases. This one-day meeting will explore emerging areas in which the convergence of fundamental science and translational opportunities promises to shape the futures of medicine.
Cambridge University Engineering Department. Constance Tipper Lecture Theatre.Programme
09.00-09.15 Introduction to meeting
09.15-10.15 Serena Nik-Zainal, Professor of Genomic Medicine and Bioinformatics, Department of Medical Genetics, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge - Genomes, genome engineering and personalised medicine
10.15-11.15 Shyni Varghese, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Orthopaedics, Duke University, US - Tissue engineering
11.15-11.45 Morning Coffee
11.45- 12.45 Jan Hoeijmakers, Department of Molecular Genetics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam and Cologne, Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Oncode, Utrecht, both in the Netherlands and the CECAD, Cologne, Germany - DNA damage, cancer and aging, the unexpected impact of nutrition on medicine
13.45-14.45 Paul Workman, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, The Institute of Cancer Research, London – Transforming small molecule cancer drug discovery for precision medicine
14.45-15.45 Iain Buchan, W.H. Duncan Chair in Public Health Systems, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Public Health, Policy & Systems, University of Liverpool – How might artificial intelligence augment population health?
15.45-16.15 Afternoon Tea
16.15- 17.15 Alessio Ciulli, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee - New approaches in drug discovery
17.15 Closing remarks
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