Published: Feb. 17, 1998

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Medicine who discovered a new class of pathogens linked to “mad cow disease” and "wasting disease" in deer and elk, will lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder on March 3.

Prusiner will give a free public talk on "Prions -- A New Paradigm in Biology and Medicine" at 8 p.m. in Macky Auditorium. The 33rd George Gamow Memorial Lecture is intended for general audiences and will feature slides.

Prusiner is a professor of neurology and biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. Through his revolutionary studies, he created a new field of research that has resulted in significant progress in understanding degenerative diseases of the central nervous system.

For several decades, the prevailing view of scientists was that a slow-acting virus caused a transmissible disease of the central nervous system, scrapie, which is often called mad cow disease. Prusiner proposed what many considered to be the heretical idea that the scrapie agent, which he called a "prion," is composed only of protein and replicated without nucleic acid.

Prions also appear to cause the "wasting disease" that is killing deer and elk in Colorado.

He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Richard Lounsbery Award for Extraordinary Scientific Research in Biology and Medicine from the National Academy of Science.

Prusiner is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Society of London. He is the editor of eight books and the author of more than 200 articles.

The George Gamow lecture series has featured public talks by internationally famous scientists since 1971. The series honors the late CU-Boulder physics professor who helped develop the big-bang theory of the creation of the universe. All Gamow lectures are intended to communicate science to non-scientists.

Parking will be available at the Euclid Autopark next to the University Memorial Center for $1.25. From Denver take Highway 36 to Baseline Road, turn left on Baseline, right on Broadway and right again on Euclid. The parking structure is located one-half block down Euclid on the left.

For more information please call (303) 492-6431.