Yale Physician to Give HHMI Holiday Lectures on Strokes, Heart Disease to National Audience of High School Students

Heart disease causes more deaths than any other disease in the United States, and hypertension is not far behind. Two noted research scientists – Richard Lifton, M.D., Ph.D., of the Yale School of Medicine, and Christine E. Seidman, M.D., Harvard Medical School – will explore the genetic causes of these deadly diseases and discuss possible new treatments as part of this year’s Holiday Lectures on Science, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

High school students, teachers and others across the country will be able to view the lectures Dec. 7-8 live via satellite and the Web, and to ask the scientists questions online.

The lectures will take students to the frontiers of biology in four talks titled “Of Hearts and Hypertension: Blazing Genetic Trails.” The two scientists will discuss the genetics of cardiovascular disease and the role of the kidney in hypertension before a live high school audience at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The lectures are accessible from HHMI’s Holiday Lectures Web site, http://www.holidaylectures.org. Web visitors can also participate in an interactive video chat with the scientists from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on both days. Consult the web site for more details.

The speakers are HHMI investigators whose research has been widely published. Lifton is director of the program in genetics in medicine and professor of medicine, genetics and molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale. Seidman is director of the cardiovascular genetics service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a professor at Harvard.

Teachers who register for the Holiday Lectures on Science can receive a free Teacher and Student Guide that will help them integrate lecture concepts with the high school curriculum. Parts of the guide are also available on the Web site, including lecture summaries, key concepts and selected references to useful publications and other Web sites.

The Web site also contains a variety of lively activities that complement the lectures, including:

* “The Interactive Web,” which has demonstrations and a virtual laboratory that use JAVA, video, virtual reality and Shockwave to make science come alive. High school students helped design some of these interactive demonstrations, including The Circulatorium, KidneyScope, and Heart Size Simulator.

* An “Ask a Scientist” feature, which enables students to pose questions via e-mail about human genetics and other biology topics. Volunteer experts associated with HHMI programs answer the questions.

* The museum-quality Holiday Lectures exhibit, which provides an interactive experience for students as they explore the function of the heart and kidney, as well as heart disease and hypertension. A documentary about the exhibit will be broadcast via satellite and the Web during breaks between the lectures. After the lectures are concluded, this on-site exhibit will continue to exist in a virtual format on the Web site.

Channel One Connection (formerly the Classroom Channel) will rebroadcast the first two Holiday Lectures on Jan. 13, 1999, and the second two lectures the following day. To create a link to the Web site or to obtain additional information, visit the Press Kit page at www.holidaylectures.org/grants/lectures/presskit/.

HHMI is a medical research organization whose scientists include many of the world’s leaders in the fields of cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, and structural biology. More than 330 Hughes investigators conduct medical research in HHMI laboratories at 72 outstanding medical centers and universities nationwide. HHMI’s home page is at http://www.hhmi.org.

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