University of Leicester eBulletin

Celebrating Genetics

September 2002

In this year of its 80th anniversary, the University of Leicester, home of the discovery of DNA fingerprinting by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys in 1984, has a double reason for celebrating its prestigious Department of Genetics on Thursday 12 September 2002.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) will be honouring Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys by awarding a 'Chemical Landmark Plaque' to the Adrian Building - which houses the Genetics Department including the laboratory where Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys made his revolutionary discovery. 

This will take place on the same day as the launch of the Institute of Genetics, which will draw together the expertise in genetic research which, although centred in the Department of Genetics, extends across 14 departments within the University.

In honouring the discovery of DNA Fingerprinting at the University of Leicester the RSC is continuing its national initiative to awaken public interest in historic developments in the chemical sciences.

The award ceremony at 12.30 pm on 12 September will take place in the Bennett Link Lecture Theatre following Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys' talk in a session on "Genetics, Science and Society", part of the BA Festival of Science held this year at the University.

Later the same day, at 4.30 pm in the Bennett Link Lecture Theatre, Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize winner and Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, will say a few words to formally launch the University of Leicester Institute of Genetics. The launch will be followed by a reception, with a display of posters representing the Institute’s aims and objectives and illustrating the diversity of scientific disciplines incorporated in the Institute. This will take place in the lower ground floor lobby of the Bennett Building.

Dr Annette Cashmore, Head of the Department of Genetics commented: "The Department of Genetics within the School of Biological Sciences has established an excellent and formidable international reputation for its pioneering research, recognised by the award of 5* in the 2001 RAE. 

"However, genetics research at Leicester extends beyond the Department and there are a large number of scientists across the University that use genetics in a broad range of biological and medical research. Establishment of an Institute of Genetics will promote interactions and lead to the development of a network of these scientists, which can only strengthen the already strong axis of genetic research. An estimated number of researchers at all levels that could potentially be part of the Institute exceeds 200.

"Genetics is at the heart of modern biology and impacts on many areas of human health, welfare and daily lives, it is clearly a major priority for Government, private and industrial funders of research. The combination of excellence and size makes us a key-player as an experienced, knowledgeable and co-ordinated network able to respond rapidly to major initiatives."

A key aim of the Institute will be to foster collaboration and encourage communication between scientists carrying out genetics research at Leicester, which will maximise opportunities for new initiatives, funding, dissemination of science and training of scientists.


Note to editors:

Royal Society of Chemistry Historic Landmark Award

The award of the "Chemical Landmark" plaque by the Royal Society of Chemistry will take place at 12.30 pm in the University of Leicester Bennett Link Lecture Theatre.
It will follow a series of talks on the issue of "Genetics, Science and Society" that are part of the BA Festival of Science, held this year at the University of Leicester. 
Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys will be talking on "Genetic Fingerprinting" at 11.30 am in the Bennett Link Lecture Theatre.
Interviews and photo opportunities with Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys will be available at 12.45 pm in the foyer of the Adrian Building.

Launch of the University of Leicester Institute of Genetics

The University of Leicester Institute of Genetics will be formally opened by Professor Sir Paul Nurse at 4.30 pm in the Bennett Link Lecture Theatre and then in the lower ground lobby of the Bennett Building.
This follows the afternoon session of talks on "Genetics, Science and Society".
Interviews and photo opportunities with Director General of Cancer Research UK Sir Paul Nurse, Co-ordinator of the Institute of Genetics Professor Ed Louis and Head of Department of Genetics Dr Annette Cashmore, will be available at 4.45 pm in the lower ground floor lobby of the Bennett Building.


BA Festival of Science 2002 

Quality of life is this year’s theme for the BA Festival, which is the UK’s biggest science festival, held annually at different universities throughout the country. 
This year’s event will attract 400 top international scientists and science communicators and reveal the latest developments in research. 
A total of 3,000 delegates are expected to attend the event at the University, as well as thousands of students of all ages and members of the public interested in science.
To find out more about the BA Festival of Science see the website www.the-ba.net

For further information about the launch of the Institute of Genetics and the Royal Society of Chemistry award please contact Dr Annette Cashmore, Head of the Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, telephone +44 (0)116 252 3439, facsimile +44 (0)116 252 3378, email amc19@le.ac.uk


Ather Mirza
Director of Press and Public Relations
University of Leicester
Tel: 0116 252 3335
Fax: 0116 252 2485
Mobile: (out of office hours) 07711 927821
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