November nanoTalks: Oxygen and Gene Therapy

In the last nanoTalks of the year, our speakers will talk about different topics in medicine. From gene therapies to why the discovery of oxygen sensing was awarded the 2019 nobel prize in medicine and physiology, it will be an entertaining evening.

Talk 1: Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine 2019

Presented by Virginia Schmid, DPhil Candidate, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
Running short of breath whilst climbing a mountain or simply a never-ending flight of stairs – haven’t we all experienced it before? Not only to us but to most living organisms oxygen sensing is of vital importance. This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. This talk will give insight into the molecular mechanisms which govern adaptation to altered oxygen availability and we will further discuss how this system is of importance and stands under selective pressure in cancer.


Talk 2: Gene Therapy – from Bench to Bedside
Presented by Philippe Valmaggia, Master Student in Medicine & Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel
A novel kind of treatment emerged thanks to the collaboration of genetic researchers and clinicians. It is called gene therapy and allows to directly modify the human genome. This is as fascinating as it is frightening. Yet, how does gene therapy actually work? 
To illustrate the principle, we will follow the journey of a gene from bench to bedside. Our model gene goes under the name of RPE65 and can lead to blindness by the degeneration of retinal cells. In this talk, I want to give an overview over its discovery in the lab, its adaptation for therapy and the treatment process in the hospital. Besides describing the technical aspects, I would like to open the door for discussions about the ethical questions arising with gene therapy.


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Supported by UZH Alumni.

UZH alumni