Dr. BrownDr. Michael S. Brown delivered the 3rd Annual Leaders in Biomedicine Lecture, "Why Cholesterol", sponsored by the M.D.-Ph.D. Program on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at the Carl Walter Amphitheater located in the Tosteson Medical Education Center at Harvard Medical School.

The goal of this lectureship is to provide 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. As part of the series, MD-PhD students hosted a lunch seminar for Dr. Brown to discuss his views on personal and scientific life.

“In 1972 Joe Goldstein and I were eager young physician-scientists, fresh out of training in medicine at MGH, and biochemistry at NIH. We decided to form a partnership to attack a genetic disease that causes high blood cholesterol and heart attacks. Our more sophisticated friends chose sexier problems like cancer, developmental biology and neuroscience. They asked: “Why cholesterol?” In this talk I hope to explain why cholesterol was appropriate for young physician-scientists in 1972, and why seemingly mundane topics are still appropriate in 2009. The virtues of a long-term research partnership will also be addressed.” Dr. Brown

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Dr. Brown’s Bio

Michael S. Brown received an M.D. degree in 1966 from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an intern and resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post doctoral fellow with Earl Stadtman at the National Institutes of Health. He is currently Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Dr. Brown and his colleague, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, discovered the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that leads to premature heart attacks. Their work laid the groundwork for drugs called statins that block cholesterol synthesis, increase LDL receptors, lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Statins are taken daily by more than 20 million people worldwide. Brown and Goldstein shared many awards for this work, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology.

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Also see:

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

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