Cancer Research 'Pioneer' Speaks at Lecture Series

Feb. 16, 2010

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Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences presents the endowed W. Dial Black Family Lectures at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in room B. 110 of the Baylor Sciences Building (BSB) on the Baylor campus.

Dr. Mina J. Bissell, Distinguished Scientist at Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, will present "The Importance of Tumor Microenvironment in Initiation, Promotion and Therapy of Cancer" as part of this series.

"Dr. Bissell is a pioneer in the role of extra cellular matrix," said Dr. Kevin Pinney, chair of W. Dial Black Family Lectures Committee and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "We are very excited for the opportunity to bring such a distinguished scientist to Baylor."

Bissell's lecture will discuss breast tissue developed by her lab to model different aspects of the mammary gland.

"[We want] to understand tissue specificity and how it may go awry in breast cancer," Bissell said. "I will discuss how these models can be used to study the consequences of carcinogenic insults, including exposure to low dose radiations."

Bissell earned her artium baccalaureatus with honors in chemistry from Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Mass., and earned a doctorate in bacterial genetics from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. She joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1972, became director of cell and molecular biology in 1988 and was appointed director of life sciences in 1992. Upon stepping down as the Life Sciences Division Director, she was named Distinguished Scientist.

Bissell has authored more than 315 publications, is member of seven international scientific boards and is on the editorial board of 12 scientific journals, including Science magazine. She served as President of the American Society of Cell Biology and the International Society of Differentiation.

A reception will be held at 2:30 p.m., Feb. 18, the second floor in the A-wing lobby.

"We are really delighted that Dr. Bissell is coming to the campus to give her lecture. She's a world class researcher that will giver our students a great opportunity to interact with," said Pinney. "She's a perfect match for the W. Dial Black Family Lecture Series."

The inaugural lecture of the W. Dial Black Family Lectures was by George Pettit from Arizona State University, Phoenix, in 2008.

The endowment was set up by Sadie Jo Black, a survivor of two cancer occurrences, and will provide distinguished lecturers focusing in cancer, Parkinson's disease or other major diseases.

Black graduated from Baylor University in 1950 and was an assistant professor at Baylor in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, retiring in 1992. In addition she has established three endowed scholarships.

by Colton Wright, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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