Blout Lectureship

About the Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture: This lectureship is named after Elkan Blout and his wife, Gail.

Elkan Rogers Blout was born in Manhattan in 1919. After graduating from Princeton, he earned a doctorate in chemistry from Columbia in 1942. In the 1950s, Dr. Blout pursued parallel but distinct paths at Harvard and at the Polaroid Corporation, where he was a vice president and general manager of research.  At Polaroid, he led the team that worked out the color developing process for the company’s signature instant film, creating new photographic dyes and developing agents and discovering ways to make them in quantity. At the same time, Dr. Blout was embarking on biochemical research at Harvard, studying peptides and polypeptides, which are building blocks in assembling the body’s proteins. In 1962, he left industry to devote his energy to synthesizing peptides in the laboratory and to examining their structures. A former student of Dr. Blout’s at Harvard said he was “highly respected for the quality and rigorousness of his research,” but he was also known as a warm and supportive lab head. “Everyone really loved working with him, [and] he fostered a very good feeling wherever he went.”

From 1978 to 1989, Dr. Blout was dean for academic affairs at Harvard’s School of Public Health. In the 1990s he became a senior adviser for science at the Food and Drug Administration, where he reviewed standards, helped plan for the agency’s future staff and laboratory needs, and coordinated research conducted by its scientists. He retired from Harvard in 1991.  In 1990, he was awarded a National Medal of Science.

Dr. Blout died on December 20, 2006 at the age of 87. Gail Blout lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Past and Present Blout Lectures

6/26/19   The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  Eleanor Riley, University of Edinburgh – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/13/18    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  Parasites:  Friends or Foes of a Healthy Immune System.  Rick Maizels, University of Glascow – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/22/17    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  Harnessing Genomics and Population Biology for Malaria Vaccine Discovery and EvaluationDyann Wirth, Harvard University – Candle House 3rd floor – 10 AM

7/27/16    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  A physician-scientist’s view of the pathogenesis of amebiasis.   Bill PetriUniversity of Virginia – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/23/15    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  Cell surface proteins and secreted vesicles mediating pathogenesis of the sexually-transmitted parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Patricia Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

8/8/14      The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  The cell physiology of the malaria parasite:  New drug targets and drug resistance mechanisms Kiaran Kirk,  Australian National University – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/24/13   The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  The new biology of African trypanosomes: from transcriptomics to developmentChristian Tschudi, Yale University School of Medicine – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/28/12    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  One Hundred Years of Sleeping Sickness:  Sex, Drugs and RNAIsabel Roditi, University of Berne, Switzerland – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

6/29/11    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture – “Illuminating the biology of Trypanosoma brucei by next generation sequencing”   Elisabetta Ullu, Yale University School of Medicine – Starr 209, 8:30 AM

7/9/10      The Gail and Elkan Blout LectureLearning Immunology from Parasites.   Alan Sher, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – 8:30 AM, Candle House 104

6/24/09    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  Viennese Waltz or Woods Hole Rave? How Toxoplasma Rhoptry Proteins Determine the Character of Its Dance with the Infected Host”John Boothroyd, Stanford University – 8:30 AM, Candle House 104

7/25/08    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  The Amazing Travel of Malaria Sporozoites. Victor Nussenzweig, New York University School of Medicine – Candle House 104, 8:30 AM

2007          The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:   Paul Englund, Dept. of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

6/23/06    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:  George M. Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, Harvard University

7/12/05    The Gail and Elkan Blout Lecture:   The ubiquitin system for protein degradation and its roles in the control of cell division.   Avram Hershko, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel (2004 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry)