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Karolinska Research Lecture – Bonnie L. Bassler

Research Lecture at Nobel Forum
Free admission

15 September, kl. 16.30

Bonnie L. Bassler

Professor in Molecular Biology
Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University New Jersey, USA

Title: “Quorum Sensing and its Control”

Bacteria communicate with one another via the production and detection of secreted signal molecules called autoinducers. This cell-to-cell communication process, called “Quorum Sensing”, allows bacteria to synchronize behavior on a population-wide scale. Behaviors controlled by quorum sensing are usually ones that are unproductive when undertaken by an individual bacterium acting alone but become effective when undertaken in unison by the group. For example, quorum sensing controls virulence factor production, biofilm formation, and the excretion of public goods such as enzymes that solubilize solid food sources making them accessible for consumption. We developed small molecule quorum-sensing agonists and antagonists to discover the principles underlying the exquisite selectivity quorum-sensing receptors have for their cognate ligands. Our results suggest mechanisms bacteria use in the wild to ensure the proper ligand has interacted with its partner receptor prior to eliciting signal transduction. We suggest that, in their native environments, bacteria encounter mixtures of autoinducers produced by other species occupying the same niche. Precise autoinducer discrimination enables a particular species of bacteria to respond exclusively to its own signal even in the face of fierce competition. This ability prevents the leakage of benefits of quorum-sensing-controlled public goods to non-kin. Beyond learning about fundamental principles underlying quorum sensing, another use for our synthetic molecules is to control quorum sensing on demand. Indeed, our most potent quorum sensing antagonist protects animals from quorum-sensing-mediated killing by pathogenic bacteria and prevents biofilm formation in model microfluidics chambers that mimic medical devices. These results validate the notion that targeting quorum sensing has potential for antimicrobial drug development.

Nobel Conference “The Cell Cycle and Cell Death in Disease”

Date:  June 8 – 11, 2016

Location: Nobel Forum, Karolinska Institutet

Read more HERE

Nobel Laureate Revisiting Lecture

Thursday, April 7th at 4.30

Venue: Wallenbergsalen, Nobel Forum, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 1

Jack Szostak, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2009

The Origin of Cellular Life

The amazing complexity and diversity of life is a result of billions of years of evolution.  But how did the process of evolution itself begin? I will describe how efforts to design and build very simple living cells are testing our assumptions about the nature of life, generating ideas about how life emerged from the chemistry of the early earth, and even offering clues as to how modern life evolved from its earliest ancestors.

Host: Professor Rune Toftgård

Contact: Ann-Mari Dumanski, Nobel Office, Nobel Forum
08-524 878 00,

Research Lecture at NOBEL FORUM – Mary-Claire King

Research Lecture at NOBEL FORUM
14 April, kl. 16.30
Free admission

Mary-Claire King, PhD, American Cancer Society Professor
Departments of Medicine and Genome Sciences
University of Washington, Seattle, WA


“We are extraordinarily fortunate to be living in this era of exciting discoveries and rapid scientific advancements in human genetics. There has not been a more exciting time to be involved in the genetics field since Gregor Mendel counted smooth and wrinkled peas and Charles Darwin tended finches.”
Mary-Claire King, PhD


That some families are particularly severely affected by breast cancer has been known since the time of the ancient Greek physicians and systematically documented first by the work of Paul Broca in the 19th century and then Jane Lane-Claypon in the early 20th century. The realization that this problem could be conceptualized in terms of formal human genetics and addressed by a combination of mathematical and experimental tools led to our demonstration in 1990 that breast cancer in some severely affected families was due to severe mutations in a then-still-hypothetical gene BRCA1 on human chromosome 17q. The cloning and functional characterization of BRCA1 and subsequently of BRCA2 and other sister genes has led, over the past 20 years, to widespread genetic testing for inherited predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer, to preventive interventions for women with mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2, and to development of effective treatments based on genotypes of patients and their tumors.