Speaker: Paul Davies, Ph.D., is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist. He is Director of The Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, whose agenda encompasses foundational topics ranging from the origin of the universe to the origin of life and the nature of time. Davies is also Principal Investigator of the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology at ASU. Among his research accomplishments, Davies helped explain how black holes radiate energy, what caused the ripples in the cosmic afterglow of the big bang, and why life on Earth may have come from Mars. He has written about 30 books, most recently The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe? His fearless championing of bold new ideas earned Davies the epithet of “The Disruptor” in a recent profile in Nature magazine.
Location: Biodesign Auditorium
Web Cast: Unavailable
Date & Time: January 26th, 2012 12:00 p.m.
Title: Cancer as Metazoa 1.0
Abstract: Cancer is widespread among eukaryotes, and can be successfully tackled only by understanding its place in the story of life itself – especially the evolution of multi-cellularity. In this seminar I will propose a new theory of cancer, drawing on insights from astrobiology. The central hypothesis is that cancer is an organized pre-programmed process driven by a cassette of highly conserved, deeply-evolved ancient genes – genes that are active in early-stage embryo development, and which become inappropriately re-awakened in the adult form. In effect, cancer tumors are atavisms, recapitulating an ancient life form – “Metazoa 1.0” – dating back to the dawn of multi-cellularity. This hypothesis differs fundamentally from the popular notion that cancers are deregulated rogue cells running amok, and explains cancer’s well-known robustness and resilience. It also offers a well-defined target for therapy.
Thank you and if you have questions please contact Amanda Wilber! And don’t forget, coffee will be served!
Amanda Wilber, Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology
Arizona State University | P.O. Box 871504 | Tempe, AZ 85287
480.965.3860 | Fax: 480.965.6362