The Paterson Lecture Series was started in memory of Dr. James Charteris Paterson, a Professor in the Department of Pathology at Western University from 1965-1972. He and Dr. John Fisher established the initial departmental research programs leading to MSc and PhD degrees in basic medical sciences.
Born in Chelsey, Ontario, Dr. Paterson graduated from the University of Toronto in 1925. For almost ten years he worked in South America in industrial and tropical medicine before training as a Pathologist in Toronto. During this period he developed an interest in cardiovascular pathology and, after service with the RCAC during World War II, he came to the University of Western Ontario in 1945 to pursue his research on vascular disease.
During the subsequent years he served as Chief of Pathology at Westminster Hospital and a Professor of Pathology. At one point he was Chairman of the WHO Study Group in Atherosclerosis. Dr. Paterson was devoted to the training of students and of many residents. He carried out studies on atherosclerosis, and also on toxicity of inhaled metals such as Cadmium.
Dr. Paterson passed away in January 1972. The Paterson Lectureship was established in his memory and the first lecture was given in October 1982 by Dr. Barry Pierce on the subject “How does the blastocyst regulate malignant cells?”
Initially planned for April, the 2017 Paterson Lecture was successfully rescheduled for December 14, 2017.
Dr. Martin Chalfie, Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, delivered a riveting and entertaining Paterson Lecture. Dr. Chalfie is best known for winning the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roger Tsien and Osamu Shimomura "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP”. In addition to this game-changing work, Dr. Chalfie has identified many genes involved in cell differentiation, and mechanisms regulating neuronal degeneration, microtubule and channel structure and function. His passion for foundational research was clearly on display during his lecture. The audience in the filled auditorium attentively followed his presentation on "Guarantor Transcription Factors in Cell Differentiation". Dr. Chalfie began his lecture by passionately advocating for ‘pre-print archives’. He mentioned how important it is for researchers to get research results disseminated quickly to advance science. He then presented recent work from his laboratory and the novel concept of ‘guarantors’ of gene expression. Guarantors do not activate gene expression by themselves but promote full activation of target genes regulated by other transcription factors. Dr. Chalfie’s lecture was the highlight of the year and arguably the best end to 2017.
Special thank you to Ms. Mellonie Carnahan, Tracey Koning, and Cheryl Campbell for their hard work in organizing the Paterson Lecture.