August 17th MBL Friday Evening Lecture to Explore How Bacteria “Talk”

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Bonnie L. Bassler, a world-renowned molecular biologist whose discoveries regarding how bacteria “talk” to each other launched a revolution in biological and medical research, will discuss her research and its implications for new infection treatment at the final 2012 MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Friday Evening Lecture on August 17. The lecture, titled “How Bacteria Talk To Each Other,” will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole.  It is free and open to the public.Bonnie Bassler

Dr. Bassler is the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. The research in her laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use for intercellular communication—a process called quorum sensing.   Until recently, the ability of bacteria to communicate with one another was considered an anomaly that occurred only among a few marine bacteria. It is now clear that group talk is the norm in the bacterial world, and understanding this process is important for fighting deadly strains of bacteria and for understanding communication between cells in the human body. Dr. Bassler’s research is paving the way to the development of novel therapies for combating bacteria by disrupting quorum-sensing-mediated communication.

Dr. Bassler received a B.S. from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University.  She performed postdoctoral research at the Agouron Institute before joining the Princeton faculty in 1994.  Dr. Bassler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2002.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and is currently chair of its Board of Governors.

Dr. Bassler is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2012 UNESCO-L’Oreal Woman in Science for North America, the National Academies’ Richard Lounsbery Award (2011), Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences (2009), and the Presidents’ Distinguished Teaching Award, Princeton University (2008). In 2011, President Barak Obama nominated Dr. Bassler for membership on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation and prioritizes the nation’s research and educational priorities in science, math, and engineering. At Princeton, Dr. Bassler teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and is a passionate advocate for diversity in the sciences.  She is actively involved in and committed to educating lay people in science.

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The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science.  Founded in 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the MBL is an independent, nonprofit corporation.