Burnaby South Welcomes a Nobel Laureate

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 1.44.09 AMGlobal Learning Programs of the Burnaby School District is very pleased to welcome Dr. Andrew Fire, Professor of Pathology and Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Nobel Laureate 2006, to Burnaby South Secondary School on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015.

Dr. Fire completed a Bachelor degree in mathematics at age 19 from the University of California, Berkeley, and proceeded to complete a PhD in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) within the following 5 years. Prior to joining Stanford University Faculty in 2003, he worked at Johns Hopkins University and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

The discovery that lead to Dr. Fire’s Nobel Prize, shared with Dr. Craig Mello, involved a process called RNA interference, which is the ability to silence, or shut off, specific genes using pieces of double stranded RNA. In his acceptance speech, Dr. Fire pointed out the significance of his research when he asked, “Can we use RNA interference as a way to fight human disease directly?”

The Food and Agriculture Organization, an agency of the United Nations with the goal of food security in the world, has consulted with Dr. Fire because we now know the discovery has huge implications for the modification of plants. One company developed a potato variety with better storage capacity and lower levels of a natural toxin. And Dr. Fire has explained that such biotechnology may assist to relieve the increasing pressure to overcome drought and reduce pesticide use.

Currently, in the “Fire Lab” at Stanford University, researchers study a variety of mechanisms that are utilized by cells adapting to genetic change.

Students will meet Dr. Fire between 3:30 and 4:00pm for refreshments and personal interaction. Dr. Fire’s presentation will begin at 4:00pm sharp. There will time for specific questions during the presentation.

All students attending must pre-register at burnaby.events@gmail.com to ensure space is available (state name, school, grade, email address and cell phone number). Registering students should be taking at least one senior science course in the Burnaby School District and pursuing sciences as a career.

Honours and Advanced Placement students may register for the Science Trailblazer Speaker Series, a four-session series that brings in top researchers and scientists from Canada and the United States. Series participants will be asked to assist in session facilitation; a Certificate of Completion will be awarded to those attending all four sessions.

Dates of Future Science Trailblazer Sessions:

  • November 3rd, 2015: Dr. Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute, Waterloo University, 11:30am to 12:30pm, Burnaby South Secondary School
  • February 9th, 2016: Dr. Catherine Anderson, Director of Future Science Leaders, Science World, 11:30pm to 12:30pm, Burnaby South Secondary School
  • December 1st, 2015 or March 8th: Speaker, To Be Announced (TBA)

The Burnaby School District gratefully acknowledges the effort and time that guest speakers contribute in order to mentor and inspire young people