Feb. 10: Skinner to discuss ‘ancestral ghosts’ in genes

By Jared Brickman, Honors College

Skinner-Michael-2012-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Your grandmother has some explaining to do. What she was exposed to during pregnancy could make you more susceptible to disease, and you’re going to pass that on to your grandchildren as well.

School of Biological Sciences Professor Michael Skinner will discuss the genesis of disease in an individual influenced by distant relatives for the free, public Washington State University Honors College Distinguished Lecture at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, in the Honors Hall lounge.

“These distinguished lectures offer opportunities for our students as well as the broader community to hear firsthand about the outstanding accomplishments of WSU’s top research faculty,” said M. Grant Norton, college dean. Speakers for the series of five annual lectures are selected by college faculty and staff.

Skinner recently received the American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian in the natural science category for his work, which has earned both accolades and challenges. One of his mottos for research is, “if you are not doing something controversial, you are not doing something important.”

His epigenetics research has been highlighted in BBC, Smithsonian and PBS documentaries and was selected among the top 100 discoveries in 2005 and 2007 by Discover science news magazine.

Epigenetics is the study of factors that change gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence.

Skinner has authored more than 240 peer reviewed publications and 250 invited symposia presentations, plenary lectures and university seminars. He established the WSU and University of Idaho Center for Reproductive Biology in 1996 and the Center for Integrated Biotechnology in 2002. He received the WSU Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for 2005-06 in the research category.

He completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at WSU and his postdoctoral fellowship at the C.H. Best Institute at the University of Toronto. He has been on the faculty of the pharmacology department at Vanderbilt University and the reproductive sciences and physiology faculty at the University of California, San Francisco.

The Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series offers three guest lectures in fall and two in spring. It is hosted by the college and its Honors Student Advisory Council.

In addition, the traditional Honors College Invited Lecture, delivered by a speaker chosen by Honors students, is also in spring. This year marks the 35th anniversary of that invited lecture. For more Honors College information, visit http://honors.wsu.edu.



M. Grant Norton, Dean, WSU Honors College, 509-335-4505

Linda Howell, academic coordinator, WSU Honors College, 509-335-7801, linda.howell@wsu.edu

Jared Brickman, communications assistant, WSU Honors College, 509-335-8070, uchccommmar.4@wsu.edu