The Louis Levine-Gabriella de Beer Lecture in Genetics

Tue, Apr 09, 2024 - 05:00 PM — Tue, Apr 09, 2024 - 08:00 PM
Admission Fee
Event Address
160 Convent Avenue New York, NY 10031
Event Location
The Great Hall of Shepard Hall
Event Details

President Vince Boudreau and the Foundation for City College invite you to join City College faculty, alumni, students, and staff for the annual lecture.


The Annual Louis Levine-Gabriella de Beer Lecture in Genetics presents "Correction of Muscle and Heart Disease" by Dr. Eric N. Olson

About Correction of Muscle and Heart Disease by Gene Editing

Muscle tissues are required for all animal movement, and the rhythmic beats of the heart define the temporal boundaries of life from the embryo through adulthood. Muscles and the heart are plagued by genetic disorders that disrupt the expression of critical proteins required for contractility and movement, resulting in disability and death. We seek to correct genetic mutations that cause muscle and heart diseases. Toward this end, we are advancing gene editing strategies for the correction of genetic disorders of muscle, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and various cardiomyopathies. We refer to this approach as “Myoediting”. We have optimized Myoediting for the correction of mutations associated with DMD and various cardiomyopathies in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells and have established “humanized” mouse models of these genetic disorders, serving as a robust platform for therapeutic optimization of Myoediting strategies. Opportunities and challenges in the path toward muscle and heart regeneration will be discussed.

About Our Guest Lecturer

Dr. Eric N. Olson is the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair, the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research, and the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects. Dr. Olson also serves Director of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science & Medicine and the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Clinical Research Center. Dr. Olson and his trainees discovered the key transcription factors and mechanisms that control development and disease of cardiac and skeletal muscles. These discoveries, at the interface of basic science and medicine, have profoundly influenced our understanding of the development and dysfunction of the cardiovascular and muscular systems and have provided new targets for therapeutic developments. More recently, Dr. Olson turned his attention to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a lethal degenerative disease of skeletal muscles and the heart, that has defied all therapies. His team conceived a gene editing method to correct a majority of DMD mutations and demonstrated the effectiveness of this method in human muscle cells and in mice and dogs with DMD. Dr. Olson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the advisory boards of numerous organizations and has founded multiple biotechnology companies to translate the discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic.

About The Lecture Series

The Louis Levine-Gabriella de Beer Lecture in Genetics was established by Gabriella de Beer in memory of her husband, Professor Louis Levine. A graduate of the College, he earned his Ph.D. in population genetics under the late great evolutionary geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky at Columbia University. Professor Levine’s research centered on population studies of Drosophila and behavior genetics of mice. Human genetics and forensic genetics were among other areas to which he was devoted. Professor Levine taught in the Department of Biology and in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, participated in bi-national research studies in Mexico, was Visiting Professor at the Technion (the Israel Institute of Technology) in Israel, and in later years served as a consultant and expert witness in criminal cases involving DNA evidence. The aim of these annual lectures is to perpetuate Professor Louis Levine’s lifelong interest in the ever-expanding field of genetics.

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