The Cecile Pickart Lectureship in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
On April 5, 2006, the Bloomberg School lost one of its most accomplished scholars and scientists. Cecile M. Pickart, PhD, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, died after a four-year battle with kidney cancer. She was 51.
A faculty member since 1995, Dr. Pickart was an early pioneer in the emerging field of study centered on a small protein called ubiquitin that plays a critical role in many biological processes. Ubiquitin, discovered in the mid-1970s and so named because it is found in all higher organisms, was initially shown to bind with and tag damaged proteins for breakdown within the cell. Dr. Pickart’s lab helped reveal that ubiquitin has a far more complex repertoire of regulatory functions, including repair of DNA damage, control of gene expression, and localization of proteins in cells—functions that may prove to have important clinical implications. Through her research, her teaching and her collegial support of fellow scientists, Dr. Pickart was instrumental in creating and nurturing a community of researchers, now numbering in the hundreds, that carries on the work of unraveling the mechanics of ubiquitin signaling. In recognition of her scientific accomplishments, Dr. Pickart was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences only two weeks after her death.
To honor her extraordinary achievements, the Bloomberg School has initiated a lecture in Dr. Pickart’s memory. The Cecile Pickart Lectureship in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will bring together outstanding scientists in the biochemistry research community to share their work with students, faculty and fellow researchers. The lecture will also provide an annual forum for highlighting Cecile’s many admirable qualities as a faculty member, which include her especially caring mentorship of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows and her resolute personal commitment to excellence as a teacher and academic leader.
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