On taking up his directorship of the MRC MBU in 2013, Professor Massimo Zeviani renamed the Unit's annual lecture series in recognition of Professor John Walker's commitment to the Unit. The Annual Sir John Walker Lecture series continues to reflect the Unit's major research themes in Mitochondrial Research. The Inaugural Sir John Walker Lecture was delivered by Douglas C Wallace on 15 October 2013.
The MBU's annual lecture series was founded by the Unit's previous director, Sir John Walker in 2003. The lecture series was known as the Annual Sir William Dunn Lecture, in memory of the Unit's founding benefactor. The MBU, previously the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, has a history stretching back to 1928 when, due to the efforts of Frederick Gowland-Hopkins, it was founded to carry out research on vitamins. In 2000, under Sir John Walker's directorship, the Unit embarked on a research programme concerning fundamental studies of energy metabolism in mitochondria and of the relation of the mitochondrion to human nutrition. The Unit evolved again in 2009, when it was renamed the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in recognition of its contributions to mitochondrial research and the growing evidence of the involvement of mitochondria in human diseases.
For further information about the annual lectures, please contact our Communications Manager, Penny Peck: .
The 7th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, ‘Regulation of Growth and Metabolism’, was delivered on Thursday, 30 May 2019, by David Sabatini, MD, PhD.
Professor Sabatini is a member of the Whitehead Institute and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He studies the pathways that regulate growth and metabolism and how they are deregulated in diseases like cancer and diabetes.
The 6th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, 'Genomics approaches to mitochondrial physiology and disease', was delivered on Thursday, 22 February 2018, by Vamsi Mootha, MD.
Dr Mootha is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Systems Biology and of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory is based in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute, where he leads a research team dedicated to mitochondrial biology.
On Thursday, 11 May 2017, Professor Rosario Rizzuto delivered the 5th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, entitled, "The mitochondrial calcium uniporter: molecular identity and physiological role".
Professor Rizzuto is Chancellor (Magnificent Rector) of the University of Padua, Italy, where he is also Professor of General Pathology and Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
On 15 September 2016, Venki Ramakrishnan delivered the 4th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture in The Max Perutz Lecture Theatre at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).
Venki is Deputy Director of the MRC LMB, where he is also a Research Group Leader.
He is President of The Royal Society and he received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009, jointly with Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".
It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that the eminent mitochondrial biochemist Jeff (Gottfried) Schatz passed away on 1 October, 2015. We had invited him to deliver the third annual Sir John Walker lecture here in Cambridge on 28 September. Unfortunately, he was unable to make it due to ill health. His scientific work was focussed on mitochondria and among his many achievements he was one of the discoverers of mtDNA and a pioneer in investigating mitochondrial protein import.
On 28 September 2015 Professor Stephen O'Rahilly delivered an inspiring 3rd Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, "Human Obesity: Causes and Consequences".
This was an extremely successful event and Professor O'Rahilly has very kindly allowed us to share his presentation on our website.