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Symposium celebrates Tinoco's 80th birthday

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Professor Nacho Tinoco
Chemistry Professor Ignacio Tinoco.

June 14, 2010

Colleagues and former students of Ignacio (“Nacho”) Tinoco are sponsoring a symposium in honor of his 80th birthday. The symposium, to be held on Saturday, June 26, in 105 Stanley Hall, will be open to the public.

“Nacho Tinoco is one of the founding fathers of molecular biophysics and biophysical chemistry in this country,” says Berkeley professor Carlos Bustamante. “His work has been essential to the effort of transforming biology into a more quantitative science.” Bustamante, one of the event sponsors, earned his Ph.D. with Tinoco in 1981.

Tinoco received a Bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico in 1951, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1954. He joined the University of California, Berkeley as a faculty member in 1956, and is a Professor in the Graduate School and a Faculty Senior Scientist, Physical Biosciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Tinoco’s research has focused on understanding the chemistry of nucleic acids. His website states, “The conformations of nucleic acids depend on their base sequences, and on their environments. The sequences and conformations determine their biological functions. We want to understand all of this.”

Current projects in the Tinoco lab include single-molecule studies of RNA, determining the conformation of important structural elements in RNA, and exploring its metal-ion binding sites and catalytic activity.

Tinoco was the chemistry department chair (1979-82). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he is a Guggenheim Fellow. His many honors and awards include the California Section Award, American Chemical Society (1965); The Berkeley Citation, University of California (1996); and the Founders Award, Biophysical Society (2006).

Adds Bustamante, “Those of us that had the privilege of being Nacho's students remember with great fondness the time we spent in his laboratory, where we witnessed and tried to imitate his unshakable, yet serene, believe in the scientific method and in the power of learning to reason your way out of the most difficult problems. Nacho's 80th birthday is a joyous occasion for his students and colleagues to celebrate the man and his work.”

Tinoco Symposium Schedule

Saturday, June 26, 2010
105 Stanley Hall
8:30 - 9:00 AM Coffee and Pastries
TALKS OPEN TO PUBLIC
Session Chair VICTOR BLOOMFIELD
9:00 AM DANA CARROLL
A Chemist Lends a Hand to the Geneticists, a Few Fingers at a Time
9:30 AM OLKE UHLENBECK
tRNA is (still) complicated
10:00 AM ERIC WICKSTROM
Genetic Imaging
10:30 - 11:00 AM Coffee Break
Session Chair SUSAN FREIER
11:00 AM DOUGLAS TURNER
Rules Are Not Enough - Constraining RNA Folding with Data
11:30 AM CARLOS BUSTAMANTE
The role of topology in the folding cooperativity of a protein
12:00 PM ARTHUR PARDI
Probing the thermodynamics and kinetics of RNA folding by single molecule fluorescence
12:30 – 2:00 PM Lunch Break
Session Chair HARRY NOLLER
2:00 PM GABRIELE VARANI
How RNA moves: one atom at a time
2:30 PM JEFFREY KIEFT
Molecular mimicry and conformational dynamics at the heart of IRES RNA manipulation of host cell ribosomes
3:00 PM RUBEN GONZALEZ
Translation factor control of ribosome dynamics during protein synthesis
3:30 – 4:00 PM Coffee Break
Session Chair JAMES WANG
4:00 PM CHARLES CANTOR
Detecting specific nucleic acid sequences under challenging but potentially useful circumstances
4:30 PM JIN-DER WEN
Single-Molecule Study of Ribosomal Frameshifting

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