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MolES Seminar: Pam Silver (Harvard)
WhenTuesday, Mar 7, 2017, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus locationAnderson Hall (AND)
Campus room223
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMolecular Engineering & Sciences Institute

Biological Design for Health and the Environment


The engineering of Biology presents opportunities for therapeutic design, diagnosis, prevention of disease and solutions to environmental problems.  We use what we know from Nature to build systems with predictable behaviors.  We also seek to discover new natural strategies to then re-engineer.  In one instance, we have programmed bacteria of the gut microbiome to act as sensors of disease.  In doing so, we have been able to explore the inflamed gut – in essence ‘seeing’ in a dark place.   We also seek to understand and deploy cellular compartments; we have discovered a wide spread strategy by which all prokaryotes sequester chemical reactions to protect from toxic intermediates.  These results have far-reaching implications for cell-based manufacturing and sustainability.

Pamela Silver received her BS in Chemistry and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University where she was a Fellow of the American Cancer Society and The Medical Foundation. Subsequently, she was an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Molecular Biology at Princeton University where she was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, a Research Scholar of the March of Dimes and was awarded an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award. She moved to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute where she was a Professor in the Dept of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. She was named a Claudia Adams Barr Investigator and awarded the Mentoring Award for the PhD Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. In 2004, she became one of the founding members of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the first Director of the Harvard University PhD Program in Systems Biology. In 2009, she became one of the first members of the Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Her work was recognized by an Innovation Award at BIO2007 and recently by the Innocentive Prize and has been funded by the NIH, DOD, DOE, DARPA, NSF, Novartis, Merck and The Keck Foundation. She was the recipient of an NIH MERIT award and appointed a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute. She has served on numerous government and private advisory panels including the NAS/NRC Study on Network Science, the OSD/NA Biodefense Workshop, the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, the Novartis Oncology Program, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Paul Glenn Institute for Aging Research and Exxon Mobile Research. In 2012 she was named the Elliot T and Onie H Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard. She has served on numerous editorial boards, was the Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, has served on the Council of the American Society for Cell Biology and on the Committee for Women in Cell Biology, presented to members of Congress and is a co-founder of Karyopharm Therapeutics (NASDAQ:KPTI) that makes novel anti-cancer drugs. In her free time, she enjoys sailboat racing and running,

Molecular Engineering and Sciences Seminar Series

This weekly seminar brings together students, faculty and invited guests from various disciplines across campus to explore current trends in molecular engineering and nanotechnology. It is a  forum for active interdisciplinary discussions.  These talks are open to the public and attract a diverse audience of students and faculty.
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