Keck School of Medicine Events

Keck School of Medicine of USC Research Seminar Series

"Molecular and Computational Biology"
January 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Norris Research Towers Aresty Auditorium
Webcast   Flyer

Dean Steve A. Kay, PhD, Dean of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; Professor of Biological Sciences, Neurology, and Physiology, University of Southern California.Dr. Thomas Buchanan will be presenting the introduction.A light lunch will be served before the Seminar at 11:30 am.

Dean Kay's laboratory studies the composition and architecture of circadian networks and their relevance to disease states. These networks are thought to provide adaptive advantages to organisms, and are now known to be pervasive in their integration with many other regulatory modules in multiple cell types. We employ high throughput genomic and chemical biology pipelines to identify network components and apply mechanistic approaches to understand their detailed function and interactions. His lab iterates between experimentation and computational modeling to predict how circadian clocks operate to regulate physiology and metabolism. We have found that circadian networks are hierarchical and composed of regulatory layers that act at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Increasingly we are finding that circadian regulation is tightly integrated with metabolic networks, and operate with reciprocal regulatory interactions. He will discuss recent results that explore how clocks regulate processes such as glucose homeostasis and feeding in mammals. Dean Kay will also present data on the identification of the first proof of concept chemical probes for the manipulation of circadian clocks by small molecules. Target deconvolution of these chemical probes is revealing novel features of clock function. Computational approaches to mine existing data collections for comprehensive network reconstruction will also be described, and how such approaches present circadian clocks as highly interesting targets for development of novel therapeutics in multiple disease areas. Dr. Steve Kay is the 21st dean of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and began his leadership role in October 2012. Kay came to USC from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where, as Dean of Biological Sciences, he oversaw a large academic division that included a graduate program, ranked first among its peers in 2011 by the National Research Council. He was appointed holder of UCSD's Richard C. Atkinson in Biological Sciences in 2007. Previously, Kay held faculty positions at Rockefeller University, the University of Virginia and the Scripps Research Institute. Additionally, as director of discovery research at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, he helped build research programs, applying human genome science to biomedical research and drug discovery. Dr. Steve Kay also has founded several biotechnology companies, the latest of which is Reset Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based drug development corporation. An internationally recognized expert on genes and circadian rhythms, Dr. Kay has published more than 200 papers and was named by the Institute for Scientific Information as a highly cited scientist. His work was cited in Science magazine's 'Breakthroughs of the Year' in 1997 and 1998, and again in 2002. Kay's research has contributed significantly to the understanding of the genetic basis for circadian rhythms, which serve as the body's clock for timing the day-night cycle. Recently his group and others explored the ties between circadian rhythms and the body's metabolism, helping to explain why night-shift workers, frequent travelers and others with disrupted circadian rhythms appear more prone to metabolic disorders. This investigation has led his team to discover a chemical that regulates our biological clock that in turn could be used to develop completely new drugs to treat metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. Dr. Steve Kay was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, and in 2010, he was awarded the UCSD Chancellor's Associates Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. In recognition of his pioneering work in plant sciences, Kay received the 2011 Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society for Plant Biology. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

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