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Fox Chase Cancer Center Becomes Part of an International Classroom for Young Scientists

PHILADELPHIA (November 22, 2000) — Fox Chase Cancer Center becomes part of an international classroom as 360 area high school students take part in a science lesson to be seen around the world, LIVE via satellite and the World Wide Web. On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 4th and 5th, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., science students from Philadelphia and Montgomery County schools will assemble at Fox Chase Cancer Center and interact with two internationally distinguished scientists.

The scientists will deliver four lectures during the two-day event. Entitled Clockwork Genes: Discoveries in Biological Time, the lecture series will focus on an exciting area of research - biological clocks, the molecular timepieces that control sleep, body temperature, and many other biological functions and behaviors. The 2000 Holiday Lectures on Science (www.holidaylectures.org) are supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

The Holiday Lectures bring cutting-edge science to the international classroom. This year's lecturers are Michael Rosbash, Ph.D. of Brandeis University and Joseph S. Takahashi, Ph.D. of Northwestern University. They will discuss the science of internal body clocks and answer questions live from the students watching from all over the world.

In recent years, research aimed at understanding the internal body clocks that regulate sleep and many other functions has rapidly accelerated. Scientists are gaining a deeper understanding of the 24-hour fluctuations in behavior and physiology called circadian rhythms. Many of the important new discoveries in this field have come from the laboratories of this year's lecturers, Dr. Rosbash and Dr. Takahashi. The emerging picture is of exquisitely sensitive molecular mechanisms in which the levels of specific circadian gene products ebb and flow in harmony with daily light-dark cycles.

The significance of the latest research into circadian rhythms goes beyond efforts to understand how fungi, fruit flies, and even humans track time or to devise effective new treatments for various sleep disorders. The flurry of new insights offers one of the best examples in modern biology of how complex patterns of behavior can be scripted by interactions at the molecular level. These insights are a portal into the world of genes and behavior.

The two-day program on December 4th and 5th will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a tour of Fox Chase Cancer Center and a hands-on visit to a lab. Then from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the students will watch two lectures live via satellite.

The students attending the lectures at Fox Chase Cancer Center will be able to ask questions and get their answers live via the satellite from Dr. Rosbash and Dr. Takahashi during the question and answer session from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.

This year, students from Abington Friends School, Abington Sr. High School, Baldi Middle School, Central High School, Cheltenham High School, Jenkintown High School, Wilson Middle School, Northeast High School and Penncrest High School are participating in the program.

This is the second year that Fox Chase Cancer Center has participated in this international program. The involvement of young students in Fox Chase activities is part of the Center's "Partnership for Cancer Research Education" funded by a grant in 1999 from HHMI. Through the Partnership, teachers and their classes team-up with Fox Chase scientists to work on real, ongoing cancer research projects being conducted at Fox Chase Cancer Center. In addition, 12 student scientists selected annually by the partnership conduct individual research projects in Fox Chase laboratories.

HHMI is a philanthropic organization whose scientists conduct biomedical research at more than 72 universities and medical centers nationwide. The Institute also supports more than $100 million annually in science education programs across the country, the largest privately funded science education initiative in U.S. history.

Fox Chase Cancer Center and 34 other biomedical research institutions nationwide were selected in 1999 to receive a Precollege Science Education Grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Fox Chase's award is for $325,000, over four years.

Lecture Schedule

Monday, December 4, 2000
Tour of Fox Chase Cancer Center labs
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

"Biology in Four Dimensions"
Joseph S. Takahashi, Ph.D.
Live 10:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Interactive Q&A Session 1:30-2:30 p.m.

"Unwinding Clock Genetics"
Michael Rosbash, Ph.D.
Live 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Interactive Q&A Session 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Tour of Fox Chase Cancer Center labs
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 5, 2000
Tour of Fox Chase Cancer Center labs
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

"Perfect Timing"
Michael Rosbash, Ph.D.
Live 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Interactive Q&A Session 1:30-2:30 p.m.

"The Mammalian Timekeeper"
Joseph S. Takahashi, Ph.D.
Live 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Interactive Q&A Session 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Tour of Fox Chase Cancer Center labs
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Satellite coordinates for the Holiday Lectures

C-Band
Telstar 4, Transponder 23 -- 89 Degrees West Longitude
Vertical Downlink, Frequency 4160 MHz

Ku-Band
SBS-6, Transponder 15 -- 74 Degrees West Longitude
Vertical Downlink, Frequency 12068 MHz
Audio 6.2 and 6.8


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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