The Arthur K. Parpart Lectureship: Rob Phillips, California Institute of Technology

Date(s) - 07/18/2012
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Lillie Auditorium

The Arthur K. Parpart Lectureship
“Finding the Quantitative Rules Governing Cellular Decision Making”
Rob Phillips, California Institute of Technology
July 18, 2012, Lillie Auditorium, 9:00 AM


PhillipsRob Phillips is the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California where he currently serves as the Option Representative for Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.  Phillips received his PhD in condensed matter physics at Washington University in 1989.  Prior to the privilege of a life in science, he spent seven years of travel, self-study and work as an electrician.

Work in his group centers on physical biology of the cell, the use of physical models to explore biological phenomena and the construction of experiments designed to test them.  Some of the key areas of interest include the physics of genome management such as how viruses and cells physically manipulate DNA as part of their standard repertoire during their life cycles, how transcriptional networks lead to regulatory decisions, and how the physical properties of lipid bilayers are tied to the behavior of ion channels.

Dr. Phillips is the author–with Professor Jane Kondev (Brandeis University) and Professor Julie Theriot (Stanford University)–of Physical Biology of the Cell (Garland Science, November 2008)

About the Arthur K. Parpart Lectureship

The Arthur K. Parpart Lectureship was established by Dr. Joseph F. Hoffman in memory of Dr. Parpart’s distinguished career as a devoted teacher and able investigator.  Dr. Parpart’s interest in the natural sciences began during his early years as an undergraduate student at Amherst College.  Although his research over the years encompassed a wide range of subjects, his main concern was the physiology of the red blood cell, in particular the physiological and biochemical architecture of its cell membrane.

In 1931, Dr. Parpart accepted a faculty position at Princeton University shortly after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1948, he was elevated to chairman of Princeton’s department of biology, a position he occupied until his sudden death in 1965.  Each June, Dr. Parpart transported his laboratory to Woods Hole, where he spent summers doing research at the MBL.  For more than ten years, he was a faculty member of the MBL’s Physiology course; in 1963, he was elected president of the laboratory.  Widely known for his work in physiology and biochemistry, Dr. Parpart made a vital contribution to medical science during World War II by directing a top-priority research project, which succeeded in lengthening the time human blood can be stored from three days to a maximum of forty days.

The career of Arthur K. Parpart was a notable one in all respects.  He was a productive scientist, a vigorous and preserving leader, and a man who engendered the respect and friendship of scores of students and colleagues.

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