Irving Weissman, director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University, will give the 2006 Sinsheimer Lecture in Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, on Thursday, May 11.

"Stem Cells: Units in Regeneration, Cancer, and Natural Selection" is the title of Weissman's talk, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Media Theater on the UCSC campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Weissman is a professor of pathology and developmental biology and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Stanford. He has cofounded three companies--SyStemix, StemCells, and Celtrans (now Cellerant)--and now serves as director and chair of the scientific advisory board of Cellerant and member of the scientific advisory board of StemCells.

Weissman has done pioneering work in stem cell biology. Stem cells are precursor cells that can give rise to a wide variety of specialized cell types and are thought to hold great potential for medical therapies and cures. Weissman's laboratory was the first to isolate mammalian stem cells, identifying the blood-forming stem cells in both mice and humans. His lab went on to define the stages of development between the stem cells and mature blood cells. Weissman's work has led to new treatments for leukemia and lymphoma, and he is in the forefront of efforts to develop adult stem cell therapy for other diseases.

Weissman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received numerous awards, including Stanford's Linus Pauling Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Science, the Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Biomedical Research from the New York Academy of Medicine, the Kovalenko Medal from the National Academy of Sciences Council, and the Pasarow Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Biology. Weissman earned a B.S. from Montana State College and M.D. from Stanford University.

The Sinsheimer Distinguished Lectureship in Biology is supported by an endowment from UCSC Chancellor Emeritus Robert L. Sinsheimer and his wife, Karen. Robert Sinsheimer, who was chancellor from 1977 to 1987, is a renowned molecular biologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The lecture is hosted by UCSC's Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.

For more information and disability accommodation, call (831) 459-4986.