Leaders in Biomedicine

The goal of this lectureship is to provide students and members of the HMS academic community with direct exposure to a wide range of existing leaders in contemporary biomedicine by offering a public lecture series in which such individuals are invited to speak on a subject of general interest.

2011 Lecture - Dr. Bruce Alberts

Bruce Alberts

Dr. Bruce Alberts delivered the 5th Annual Leaders in Biomedicine Lecture, “Science and the World’s Future”, sponsored by the M.D.-Ph.D. Program on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center Amphitheater located in the New Research Building at Harvard Medical School. Addressing a packed auditorium, the first part of his talk struck a personal chord as he described his life experiences and the value of failure in science (as long as one learns from the experience). In the second part, Dr. Alberts discussed means to promote science as a guiding factor in policy decisions. The talk was followed the next day by a lunch with Harvard MD/PhD students, and it was an opportunity to discuss how to improve physician-scientist training with an eminent figure in science education.


Dr. Alberts’ Bio

Bruce Alberts, a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education, serves as Editor-in-Chief of Science and as one of President Obama’s first three Science Envoys. Alberts is also Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

During his tenure at the NAS, Alberts was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education standards that have been implemented in school systems nationwide. The type of “science as inquiry” teaching we need, says Alberts, emphasizes “logical, hands-on problem solving, and it insists on having evidence for claims that can be confirmed by others. It requires work in cooperative groups, where those with different types of talents can discover them – developing self-confidence and an ability to communicate effectively with others.”

Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a preeminent textbook in the field now in its fifth edition. For the period 2000 to 2009, he served as the co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, a new organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences and that was established to provide scientific advice to the world.

Committed in his international work to the promotion of the “creativity, openness and tolerance that are inherent to science,” Alberts believes that “scientists all around the world must now band together to help create more rational, scientifically-based societies that find dogmatism intolerable.”

Widely recognized for his work in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 25 non-profit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Click here for video of Dr. Albert’s lecture “Science and the World’s Future”

Dr. Albert Dr. Albert
Introduction Dr. Bruce Alberts
Dr. Alberts closeup Dr. Alberts with students

2012 – Dr. Eric S. Lander

2011 – Dr. Bruce Alberts

2010 – Dr. Harold E. Varmus

2009 – Dr. Michael S. Brown

2008 - Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn

2007 - Sir Paul Nurse


Updated: August 20, 2013