Cancer, cellular ageing and how these are governed by telomeres

The telomeres are found at the end of our chromosomes, forming a structure with important functions relating to ageing and the occurrence of cancer. Researcher Titia de Lange is one of the world leaders in this field, and she is now coming to lecture in Sweden.

Journalists are welcome to attend the lecture: How telomeres solve the end-protection problem.

Lecturer: Dr Titia de Lange, Leon Hess Professor at Rockefeller University, New York, USA.
Time: Monday 9 June, 2014 at 5 pm – 6 pm (afterwards mingle and refreshments)
Place: Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna, Nobels väg 1, Nobel Forum, Wallenbergsalen.

Telomeres are part of the DNA at the ends of chromosomes in our cells. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres are shortened and when they have become very short, a warning signal is triggered to tell the cell to stop dividing or to die. The length and structure of the telomeres can therefore indicate how long a cell might live. Cancer cells and other long-lived cells have found mechanisms to avoid the shortening of their telomeres. At present, two such mechanisms are known.

Titia de Lange has contributed to much of what we now know about telomeres. Among other things, she has studied the signals sent out when telomeres are about to be shortened, and how a deficient telomere can contribute to morbidity and ageing in the cell. She has also mapped one of the mechanisms that may stop the shortening of the telomere. Through her research, she has also been able to show which parts of the DNA should be considered telomeres, and how these endings protect other adjacent proteins.

“In smaller organisms there is a clear connection between lifespan and telomere length. A similar connection seems to exist in humans between stress and telomeres, even if we don't know exactly what that connection is yet. De Lange is a frontrunner in the field of telomeres, so we are very pleased to have her give this year's Nicholson Lecture,” says Professor Maria Masucci, academic host of the lecture at Karolinska Institutet.

The lecture is part of a collaboration project between Rockefeller University in the USA and Karolinska Institutet. Rockefeller University is widely known for its research and education in the field of biomedical science. The university has produced more than 20 Nobel laureates. The Nicholson Lectures are given on an annual basis by researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Rockefeller University in the respective country. In addition to the lectures, the collaboration includes a research exchange programme, in which researchers from one university have the opportunity to work periodically at the other.

If you have any questions, please contact: 

Professor Maria Masucci
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology 
Tel: +46 8 524 867 55 or +46 70 544 86 90

International coordinator Johanna Diehl
University Administration, Faculty Office and International Relations
Tel: + 46 8 524 863 84 or + 46 70 274 13 04

For general questions on KI’s collaboration with Rockefeller University, please contact:
Scientific coordinator, Professor Per Svenningsson
Department of Clinical Neuroscience

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.


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De Lange is a frontrunner in the field of telomeres, so we are very pleased to have her give this year's Nicholson Lecture
Professor Maria Masucci, academic host of the lecture at Karolinska Institutet