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The John Charles Sisson Memorial Lecture is an annual event, in which an outstanding cell biologist visits the UT Sisson imageJohn Charles Sisson, Ph.D.Campus to present a research talk and promote and enrich innovative research in the College of Natural Sciences. The endowment that supports this lecture series was established as a venue for the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology and the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (ILS) Graduate Programs (formerly the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology) to honor and remember their valued colleague, John Charles Sisson, who passed away in his scientific and creative prime in October 2009. John's research was characterized by an in-depth knowledge of his field, combined with insight and ability to bring biochemical, genetic, and cell biological methods to bear on important problems. John was intense and passionate about his science. he is missed in equal measure for his willingness to help and mentor others, teaching and providing constructive criticism with a smile and good humor.

John Sisson received his BS from the University of California at San Diego. He obtained his PhD working with Dr. Matthew P. Scott at the University of Colorado and Stanford University Medical School, and completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. William Sullivan at the University of California at Santa Cruz. John joined the UT faculty in 2001 as a member of the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology. He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2007. At the time of his passing, John was elucidating the contribution of the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein to basic cellular processes in the early embryo. Impairment of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein function in humans is the most common form of heritable mental retardation and autism. John's work on the mechanism of action of this protein opened up new lines of investigation for the future with important implications for the human disease. John is survived by his wife and research partner, Ophelia Papoulas, PhD, and their son, Oliver Elias Sisson.

The John Charles Sisson Memorial Lecture Series began in November, 2011 with a presentation by Dr. Timothy Mitchison, the Hasib Sabbagh Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. In 2013, Dr. Bruce Alberts presented the Second Annual John Charles Sisson Memorial Lecture "Biology past and Biology future: Where have we been and where are we going?". In October of 2014, Dr. Bonnie Bassler, Squibb professor and Chair in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, delivered the Third Annual John Charles Sisson Memorial Lecture entitled "Manipulating Quorum Sensing to Control Bacterial Pathogenicity". 

To contribute to this endowment please contact The College of Natural Sciences Development Office at 512-471-3299 or via email at development@cns.utexas.edu .