The Department of Biology sponsors a weekly seminar series during the Fall and Spring semesters. Seminars are held each Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Biological Sciences Building East (BSBE), room 115, unless otherwise noted. In addition to this weekly seminar series, the department hosts the Walker Endowed Lectureship.  If you would like to be added to our weekly seminar e-mail reminder, please send your name and e-mail address to Lieu Jean at


Emily and Robert Walker ’45 Lectureship in Biology

Originally formed as the Frontiers in Biology lecture series, the Departmental lectureship was established in 1984 as a mechanism to attract prominent scientists to Texas A&M University for an extended visit with our faculty and students. This program of formal seminars and relaxed one-on-one interactions has enabled faculty and students from our department as well as other departments on campus to hear first-hand about the forefront of biological research from the leading figures of various biological disciplines. In 2009, the Frontiers in Biology Lecture became the Emily and Robert Walker ’45 Endowed Lectureship in Biology.

Emily Walker is a resident of Dallas, Texas. Robert Walker, a world-renowned clinician and educator, passed away on April 28, 2011.

Emily attended UT and is a weaver. An active member of the Spinners and Weavers Guild in Dallas, she grows her own cotton in whiskey barrels in the backyard and has it ginned at the TAMU Extension Service.

Robert began at TAMU in 1941 just before the U.S. entered World War II. He had a strong interest in the Department of Biology’s program in pre-medicine and pre-dentistry. Although he was a member of TAMU’s class of ’45, he was drafted into the army in 1943 and assigned to the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1944. He earned a DDS degree there in 1947, and had a general practice in Waco, Texas, until 1951. He then was called back into the army during the Korean War. In 1953 he went to Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and from 1954-56 he did a residency in oral surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

He was appointed to the Department of Surgery, UT Southwestern Medical School in 1956 to create the Division of Oral Surgery where he remained throughout the rest of his career, training over 200 residents. Among his many professional honors, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. Over the years, Dr. Walker retained close ties with TAMU, and he was actively involved in many of its organizations and advisory boards.

The Emily and Robert Walker ’45 Endowed Lectureship in Biology was established in 1995 to bring to the attention of the TAMU community outstanding research in the biological sciences.

The Frontiers in Biology lecture series in the Department of Biology was established in 1984 as a mechanism to attract prominent scientists to Texas A&M University for an extended visit with our faculty and students. This program of formal seminars and relaxed one-on-one interactions has enabled faculty and students from our department as well as other departments on campus to hear first hand about the forefront of biological research from the leading figures of various biological disciplines. In 2009, the Frontiers in Biology Lecture became the Emily and Robert Walker ’45 Endowed Lectureship in Biology.

Wallace Marshall,  Professor in University of California -San Francisco, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

John Avise, Distinguished Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences,
University of California at Davis

Fall 2011
Eric N. Olsen, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
“Heart Making and Heart Breaking: New Strategies for Heart Repair and Regeneration”
“MicroRNA Control of Muscle Development and Disease: From New Biology to New Therapeutics”

Steve Block

John Nichols

Cynthia Kenyon, Department of Neuroscience, University of California-San Francisco

FALL 2004
Jim Hudspeth
, HHMI Investigator, F.M. Kirby Professor, The Rockefeller University

FALL 2002
David Baulcombe
, The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Center, United Kingdom
“Everlasting tomatoes and a cure for cancer – A short history of gene silencing”
“Mechanisms of gene silencing and disease resistance in plants”


Sydney Kustu, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley
“Regulation of nitrogen metabolism in enteric bacteria: genomic and structural studies”
“Regulation of nitrogen metabolism in enteric bacteria: physiological and biochemical studies”

FALL 2000
Michael Young
, Laboratory of Genetics, Rockefeller University
“Life’s 24 hour clock: molecular control of circadian rhythms in animal cells”
“New parts for Drosophila’s circadian clock”

Marc H.V. Van Regenmortel
, Immunochemistry Laboratory, Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire du CNRS
“The Limits of Reductionism in Molecular Biology and Medicine”
“Analyzing Molecular Recognition and Structure-Function Relationships with Biosensors”
“The Potential of Synthetic Peptides as Viral Vaccines”

Andy McMahon, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
“The role of Hedgehog signaling in constructing the mammalian embryo”
“Hedgehog actions and interaction at the cell surface”

Masakazu “Mark” Konishi
, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology
“Brain Mechanisms of Sound Localization in Owls”
“Recent Advances in Birdsong Research”

Martin Heisenberg, Theodor-Boveri-Institut fuer Biowissenschaften, Lehrstuh fuer Genetik
“Flies, brains and the biological origin of the mind”
“Pattern recognition with stabilized eyes: Genetic approach to Drosophila brain function

FALL 1998
Ton Bisseling
, Department of Molecular Biology, Agricultural University, Dreijenlaan Wageningen Netherlands
“The phylogeny of nodulation: A comparison of legume nodulation and common plant development”
“Microspectroscopic approaches to studying nod factor signaling in living root cells”

Jeff Hall, Department of Biology, Brandeis University
“Molecular neurogenetics of rhythms in Drosophila: The midst of the fly’s circadian system and outward”
“Special topic for the rhythm system of Drosophila: Inward to the clock from environmental signals”

Marv Wickens
 and Judith Kimble, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Signal transduction, growth control and the decision between mitosis and meiosis in C. elegans
“3′ UTRs and development”

FALL 1997
Jose Antonio Campos-Ortega
, Univerität zu Köln, Institute für Entwicklungsbiologie
“Mechanisms of a cellular decision in Drosophila: epidermogenesis or neurogenesis”
“Neurogenesis in zebrafish”

Corey Goodman
, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
“Wiring up the brain: Genetic analysis of the mechanisms that generate neural specificity”
“To cross or not to cross: Genetic analysis of axon guidance at the midline”

Woody Hastings, Harvard University, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
“The circadian biological clock from man to microorganism”
“Molecular and cellular organization of dinoflagellate bioluminescence: A luciferase with three active sites in one molecule”

FALL 1996
Brian Staskawicz
, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Plant Pathology
“Evolving concepts in plant-pathogen interactions”
“Signal transduction events specifying plant disease resistance”

Ken Keegstra
, Michigan State University, DOE-Plant Research Laboratory
“Chloroplasts are not green mitochondria: Differences and similarities in their protein import systems”
“Targeting proteins into and across the chloroplastic envelope membrane”

Chris Somerville, Stanford University, Carnegie Institute, Department of Plant Biology
“Genetic dissection of membrane and storage Lipid Composition and Function in Arabidopsis
“Production of polymers in transgenic plants”

FALL 1995
Lucy Shapiro
, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Developmental Biology
“The global control of cellular differentiation: The cell cycle”
“Temporal & spatial control of cell polydifferentiation”

Steven Reppert, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Biology
“Melatonin: The hormone of the 90’s”
“Molecular analysis of the period gene in silk moths”

Carol Gross
, University of California, San Francisco, Division of Oral Biology
“Regulation of the heat shock response”
“RNA polymerase: Initiation, elongation and termination”

Gordon Shepherd, Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Neurobiology
“From odor molecules to odor maps: The molecular basis of olfactory perception”
“Current issues in the analysis of odor processing”

FALL 1994
John Gerhart
, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
“Organizing Spemann’s Organizer”
“Dorsalization of the Xenopus egg”

Paul Berg, Stanford University School of Medicine, Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Biology
“Genes and disease”
“Repair of deletions and double strand breaks in DNA by recombination in eukaryotes”

Elliott Meyerowitz
, California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology
“Genetic and molecular control of flower development: How to build a flower from parts”
“Genetic control of cell & organ number in developing flowers”

Tom Silhavy, Princeton University, Department of Molecular Biology
“Genetic analysis of protein secretion”
“Signal transduction in the purin regulon”

FALL 1993
Michael Rosenfield
, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego
“Space and time: Transcriptional regulation of mammalian organogenesis”
“A tale of two receptors: Codes of transcriptional activation”

Sharon Long, Stanford University, Department of Biological Sciences
“Rhizobium-Legume symbiosis: From pliny and prosopis to plasmids”
“Bacterial nod signals and plant cell responses in the rhizobium-legume symbiosis”

Adrienne Clarke
, CSIRO, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, University of Melbourne
“Self-incompatibility in flowering plants: An overview”
“Gametophytic self-imcompatibility in the solanaceae”
“Extracellular secretions of the female pistil in Nicotiana alata, an ornamental tobacco”

FALL 1992
Brian Hall
, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia
“Epigenetics: Waddington’s legacy and evolutionary developmental biology”
“Embryos and fossils”
“The developing skeleton: Models and mechanisms”

Chris Leaver
, University of Oxford, Department of Plant Science
“Mitochondrial genome organization and expression in higher plants”
“The molecular and biochemical basis of cytoplasmic male sterility”
“Genetic and metabolic regulation of glyotylate cycle genes in higher plants”

FALL 1991
Ghillean Prance
, Royal Botanic Gardens, United Kingdom
“The conservation and utilization of the Amazon rainforest”
“The varied vegetation of the Amazon region”
“Application of pollination and dispersal data to plant systematics”

Eric Davidson, California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology
“The sea urchin: Molecular basis of founder cell specification”
“How embryos work: A general and comparative interpretation of early embryogenesis”
“DNA binding regulatory factors of the sea urchin embryo”

Robert Day
, University of Delaware, Department of English
“How to write and publish a scientific paper”
“The history of scientific writing”

FALL 1990
Melvin Simon
, California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology
“Signal transduction in simple organisms”
“G proteins and signal processing in eukaryotic organisms”
“Interesting odds and ends”

Dale Kaiser
, Stanford University, Department of Biochemistry
“Regulation of gliding motility in Myxococcus xanthus
“A regulatory logic for multicellular development in Mycococcus xanthus
“Doing genetics with underdeveloped microbes”

Robert Bakker, University of Colorado, University Museum
“Hot- and cold-running dinosaurs”
“Dinosaurs: Bringing them back alive”
“Suboptimal evolution”

FALL 1989
Michael Menneker
, University of Virginia, Department of Biology
“Biological clocks of man and beast”
“Circadian organization among the vertebrates”
“The Tau mutation in hamsters as a tool in circadian analysis”

Stuart Kaufmann, University of Pennsylvania, Santa Fe Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
“Evolution and co-evolution on rugged fitness landscapes”
“Evolution of order in genetic regulatory networks”
“The four color wheels model of Drosophila development”

Jeffrey Palmer
, University of Michigan, Division of Biological Sciences
“Transposition and rearrangement of chloroplast and mitochondrial genes in plants”

W.J. Peacock, CSIRO, Division of Plant Industry
“Control of anaerobic gene expression in plants”

Paul Kaesberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Molecular Virology Laboratory
“Role of viruses in present day molecular biology”

FALL 1984
Eric Davidson
, California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology


Fall 2019

Date Name Institution Title Host
8/27/2019 Shobhan Gaddameedhi Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Washington State University, Spokane, WA Circadian Clock Integrates with Genomic Stability and Cancer Deb Bell-Pedersen
9/3/2019 Joseph Sorg TAMU Biology Pseudoprotease regulation of Clostridium difficile spore germination Deb Bell-Pedersen
9/10/2019 Dan Wall Department of Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming Self-recognition and social discrimination in myxobacteria Beiyan Nan
9/17/2019 Peter Lepage Department of Physics, Cornell University Large-Scale Pedagogical Change and Sustainability at a Large Research University Tom McKnight
9/24/2019 Fabienne Poulain Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina Destroy to build: selective axon degeneration for the wiring of neuronal circuits in vivo Jen Dulin
10/1/2019 Enrique Rojas Department of Biology, New York University TBD Beiyan Nan
10/8/2019 Christopher Randle Department of Biology, Sam Houston State University A model for variation in local host preference in the wide-ranging oak mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum) Angela Hawkins
10/15/2019 Joseph Rodriguez National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NC TBD Jerome Menet
10/22/2019 Yufeng Wan &
Andrea Martinez
TAMU Biology TBD Amy Tan
10/29/2019 Samer Hattar National Institute of Mental Health, MD TBD Christine Merlin
11/5/2019 Louis-Charles Fortier Département de microbiologie et d’infectiologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada TBD Joseph Sorg
11/12/2019 Ardala Katzfuss Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, TAMU Phosphoribosyltransferases as targets for the treatment of Chagas’ Disease, Sleeping Sickness, and Malaria Tom McKnight
11/19/2019 Alexandra Byrne Department of Neurobiology, U. Mass Med School Worcester TBD Rene Garcia
11/26/2019 Gregory Demas Department of Biology, Indiana University Bloomington TBD Paul Hardin


Date Name Institution Title Host
 1/15/2019 Nicholas Priebe Department of Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin “A Commonality of Adaptive Responses in the Neocortex Across Sensory Modalities” Ian Smith
 1/22/2019 Steven Crone Divisions of Neurosurgery and Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital “Harnessing spinal circuits to improve breathing following disease and injury” Dylan McCreedy
1/29/2019 Lydia Bogomolnaya College of Medicine, TAMU “MacAB efflux pump and its role in the biology of Gram-negative bacteria” Debby Siegele
2/5/2019 Kumaran Ramamurthi Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD “Synthetic bacteria deliver the goods” Joseph Sorg
2/12/2019 Susan Perkins American Museum of Natural History, New York Cancelled Charles Criscione
2/19/2019 Shu-Bing Qian Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Cancelled Matt Sachs
2/26/2019 Steve Horvath Department of Human Genetics and Biostatistics, UCLA “Epigenetic Clocks and Telomere Maintenance” Alan Pepper

K.C. Huang

Departments of Bioengineering and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford “Model systems for microbial ecology” Steve Lockless
3/19/2019 Melissa Wilson School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University “Sex-based evolution” Heath Blackmon
3/26/2019 Horacio de la Iglesia Department of Biology, University of Washington “Entraining the circadian clock: Light or Fear?” Paul Hardin
4/2/2019 Lee Rubin Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University “Improving the Function of the Aging Brain” Jack McMahan
4/9/2019 Mick Hastings MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK “Cellular and molecular basis to circadian rhythms in mammals” Paul Hardin
4/16/2019 Jimmy Goncalves & Zachary Hancock TAMU Biology TBD Sarah Beagle
4/23/2019 Erin Goley Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine “Cell division in bacteria: lessons from Caulobacter” Beiyan Nan


Where and When: The 3rd Friday of the month at 3:30 pm in Butler 103

Purpose: These talks are meant to be informal chalk talks covering what you are working on, what you are thinking about, what you plan to work on, etc. in order to get constructive feedback on your ideas. Everyone is responsible for finding an alternate speaker if you cannot talk on your scheduled date.