Distinguished Lecture Series - Ras Signaling: A Challenge to the Biological Sciences

Event Date: 
Fri, 2017-09-29 11:15 - 12:30

Location: TBD

Time: TBD

Speaker: Dr. Ruth Nussinov

National Institute of Cancer, NIH


Ras proteins are classical members of small GTPases that function as molecular switches by alternating between inactive GDP-bound and active GTP-bound states. Ras activation is regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors that catalyze the exchange of GDP by GTP, and inactivation is terminated by GTPase-activating proteins that accelerate the intrinsic GTP hydrolysis rate by orders of magnitude. Ras has multiple partners, signals through several key pathways and fulfills critical functions in the cell life. Mutations in Ras are common in a variety of cancers; yet it is still undruggable. Consequently, it is at the center of an NCI initiative. In my talk, I will provide the background on Ras and an overview of our recent work, highlighting how it may help in elucidating vital questions in Ras biology and hopefully contribute to therapeutic strategies.


Ruth Nussinov received her Ph.D. in 1977 from Rutgers University and did post-doctoral work in the Structural Chemistry Department of the Weizmann Institute.  Subsequently she was at the Chemistry Department at Berkeley, the Biochemistry Department at Harvard, and a visiting scientist at the NIH. In 1984 she joined the Department of Human Genetics, at the Medical School at Tel Aviv University. In 1985, she accepted a concurrent position at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, Leidos Biomedical Research, where she is a Senior Principal Scientist and Principle Investigator heading the Computational Structural Biology Section at the NCI. She has authored over 500 scientific papers. She is the Editor-in-Chief in PLoS Computational Biology and Associate Editor and on the Editorial Boards of a number of journals. She is a frequent speaker in Domestic and International meetings, symposia and academic institutions, won several award and elected fellow of several societies. Her National Cancer Institute website gives further details. https://ccr.cancer.gov/ruth-nussinov.