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Sigma Xi hosts world renowned cancer researcher

Dr. Robert ClarkeThe Lamar University chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, will host Dr. Robert Clarke, professor and dean of research in the Department of Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, in a free public lecture Feb. 23.

Clarke will speak on "What can we learn about breast cancer by combining mathematics and computer science in a systems biology approach to research?" in a free public lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the University Reception Center, on the 8th floor of the Mary and John Gray Library.

Clarke, a world-renowned expert on breast cancer, is a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Biology (U.K.).

Clarke studies how hormones and growth factors affect breast cancer. Focusing initially on the interactions among hormones and anticancer drugs, his work expanded to include the cellular and molecular mechanisms that explain how breast cancers become resistant to hormone and cytotoxic drug chemotherapies. He and his colleagues developed a series of hormone resistant breast cancer models that are widely used in the field.

He is currently developing and applying novel bioinformatic methods in translational breast cancer studies. Taking a systems biology approach, he and his collaborators have recently described a novel molecular signaling network that incorporates the unfolded protein response to endoplasmic reticulum stress. This signaling network contributes directly to the hormonal regulation of breast cancer cell proliferation and cell death. Clarke has authored/co-authored over 225 publications and he has several patents, mostly in the field of breast cancer research.

A native of Northern Ireland, he earned a D.Sc. in 1999, a Ph.D. in 1986, and a M.Sc. in 1982 (each in biochemistry) from the Queen's University of Belfast, and a B.Sc. (biological sciences) in 1980 from the University of Ulster. Clarke completed his postdoctoral training in 1988 as a Breast Cancer Study Group Fellow at the Medical Breast Section of the National Cancer Institute, N.I.H.  He joined the faculty at Georgetown University in 1989. Clarke serves on the editorial board of more than a dozen peer review journals.

Founded in 1886 at Cornell University, Sigma Xi has more than 500 chapters in North America and around the world at colleges and universities, industrial research centers and government laboratories. The society has more than 60,000 members worldwide dedicated to enhancing the health of the research enterprise, fostering integrity in science and engineering, and promoting the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. The Lamar University chapter celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014.

For more information on the lectures, contact Jim Westgate, university professor of Earth and space sciences, at (409) 880-7970.