Toxins, mutagens and the dangers to your DNA

Posted by pt91 at Oct 07, 2011 11:35 AM |
Public lectures on 11 October explore the reality of toxic damage

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 7 October 2011

The genetic and biochemical consequences of exposure to toxins and mutagens are the theme of the next in a series of accessible lecture events at the University of Leicester.

The Department of Genetics and GENIE, the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Genetics, are to host another year of public engagement lectures that make genetics simpler to understand and explain the role of genes in our lives.

The lectures aim to be informative, entertaining and very accessible to non-scientists.

In the first of the double-bill of talks, Professor Anne Willis, Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit based at the University, will speak on 'The control of gene expression following toxic injury', which is the focus of her own World-class research.

In the second talk, the Department of Genetics’ Dr Colin Glen will ask 'Mutagens... do they echo in eternity?' Along the way he will look at comic book mutants, the development of cancer, how genetic instability might be passed to future generations and how the new science of epigenetics could mean that a non-Darwinian theory of evolution was perhaps not quite as wrong as we thought.

Dr Aneela Majid, one of the organisers of the event, said: “It is vitally important that scientists engage with the wider public to explain their work and its implications. These events give us the perfect chance to do that. Our previous lectures were very well attended and received; we have been really impressed by the appetite that exists in the local community to hear about cutting-edge science.’’

The University of Leicester is world-renowned for the discovery of DNA fingerprinting by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys of the Department of Genetics. 

Since being established in 1964 the Department of Genetics has built a hugely impressive reputation. It has continued to grow, becoming a centre of pioneering research, pushing back the frontiers of knowledge in human and medical genetics, microbial pathogens and disease, evolution, and the genetics of behaviour and development.

Founded in 2005, GENIE builds on the expertise and synergy between world-class science and genetics education in the Department and carries out a wide variety of work that includes outreach and public engagement, pedagogic research and the development and evaluation of teaching resources.

The lectures will be held at 6.30pm on Tuesday 11th October 2011 in the Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building, Lancaster Road, University of Leicester. Each of the two lectures will be approximately 30 minutes in length and the event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Dr Colin Glen on 0116 223 1226.

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