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VCR's Distinguished Lecture Series

The VCR's Distinguished Lecture Series was created in an effort to educate and help the research community stay abreast on the world’s most pressing research topics.

The series brings nationally and internationally prominent speakers to present on topics of interest to a broad range of disciplines and departments. Invited lecturers typically spend two or three days on UTHSC's Memphis campus, delivering a scientific lecture and meeting with faculty and staff to share ideas and foster collaboration in education, research and entrepreneurial ventures. 

2023 Lineup

All lectures will be IN PERSON in the Freeman Auditorium (930 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor).  Light refreshments served.


Mitch Weiss

February 16, 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

“Mechanism based therapies for sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia” 

Mitch J. Weiss, MD, PhD
Arthur Nienhuis Endowed Chair in Hematology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital



Ken Ramos headshot

March 9, 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

“The Many Faces of Precision Medicine”

Ken Ramos, MD, PhD
Alkek Chair of Medical Genetics
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Services, Texas A&M System
Executive Director, Institute of Biosciences and Technology
Texas A&M Health, Houston Campus



Scott Ramsey headshot
April 12, 2023 | 9:00am - 10:00am

"Beyond Healthcare: What Do Health Systems Owe Their Patients?"

Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD
Director, Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR), Fred Hutch Cancer Center
Professor, Cancer Prevention Program, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutch Cancer Center



Ralph Baric

May 18, 2023  | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

"Therapeutic approaches to control acute and chronic emerging sarbecovirus pathogenesis"

Ralph Baric, PhD
William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Epidemiology
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


September 15, 2023

Griffin P. Rogers, MD, MACP

Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Chief, NIH Molecular & Clinical Hematology Branch


October 20, 2023

Dr. Shaomeng Wang, PhD

Co-Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Director of the Cancer Drug Discovery Program, University of Michigan

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry


November 10, 2023

Paul Whelton, MB, MD, MSc

Show Chwan Professor of Global Public Health
Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, New Orleans

President-elect, World Hypertension League




Past Presentations


Rachel Tyndale, Ph.D.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Departments of Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

"Genetics of Smoking: Impact on Smoking Behaviors, Health Consequences and Cessation"

November 14, 2019

Mark Zylka, Ph.D.

W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology and Director of the Neuroscience Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Advancing a CRISPR / Cas Gene Therapy for Angelman Syndrome”

October 17, 2019

Mark I. Ryder, DMD

Earl Robinson Professor of Periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry

“Alzheimer’s Disease and Periodontitis: New Connections, New Therapies”

September 19, 2019

Scott Weaver, PhD

John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Human Infections and Immunity; Director, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity; Scientific Director, Galveston National Laboratory; The University of Texas Medical Branch

"Urban Arboviruses: Evolution and Mechanisms of Emergence"

August 8, 2019

Lihong Wang, PhD

Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Department of Medical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, California Institute of Technology

"World’s Deepest-Penetration and Fastest Cameras: Photoacoustic Tomography and Compressed Ultrafast Photography”

March 14, 2019

Vasilis Ntziachristos, PhD

Director, Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging; Director, Munich School of Bioengineering; Technische Universität München and Helmholtz Zentrum München; München, Germany

"Advances in Optical and Optoacoustic Imaging"

February 7, 2019

György Buzsáki, MD, PhD

Biggs Professor of Neuroscience, Physiology and Neurology, New York University

"Space, Time and Memory"

April 4, 2019 


Frederick G. Hayden, MD, FACP

Consultant, World Health Organization; Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Stuart S. Richardson Professor Emeritus of Clinical Virology, University of Virginia School of Medicine

"Advances in Influenza Therapeutics"

December 6, 2018

Emily Y. Chew, MD

Deputy Clinical Director Chief, Clinical Trials Branch, The National Eye Institute; Director, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications; Medical Officer, Division of Biometry and Epidemiology, NEI/NIH

"Age-related Macular Degeneration, Environment, Nutrition and Genetics"

November 15, 2018

C. Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD

Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry; Professor of Genetics and Psychology; Director, Sansone Family Center for Well-Being, Washington University School of Medicine

"The Psychobiology and Genetics of Human Personality"

October 18, 2018

Richard A. Gibbs, PhD

Director, Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center; Wofford Cain Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics; Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine

"Genomics in the Adult Clinic: Landing on Mars"

September 6, 2018

John F. Cryan, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland; and Principal Investigator, APC Microbiome Ireland

"A Gut Feeling About the Brain: The Microbiome Modulates Behaviour Across the Lifespan"

Audio Only | Presentation Slides

February 26, 2018

Aaron Ciechanover, MD, DSc

Distinguished Research Professor, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; 2004 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 

"The Ubiquitin Proteolytic System: From Basic Mechanisms Thru Human Diseases and on to Drug Targeting"

January 16, 2018


Alexander Hoffmann, PhD

Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California Los Angeles

"Learning How to Predict Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses"

November 30, 2017

David D. Ussery, PhD

Helen G. Adams and Arkansas Research Alliance Chair; Professor of Bioinformatics; Director, ArC-GEM, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

"What is Life? Conserved Functional Domains from a Hundred Thousand Bacterial Genomes"

November 16, 2017

John D. Carpten, PhD

Chair and Visiting Professor in the Departments of Translational Genomics and Urology; Director of the Institute for Translational Genomics, University of Southern California

"Comprehensive Somatic Interrogation in Diverse Cancer Cohorts"

Oct. 19, 2017

Susan A. Murphy, PhD

Professor of Statistics, Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute; Professor of Computer Science at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, all at Harvard University

"Mobile Health Intervention Optimization"

September 14, 2017

David T.W. Wong, DMD

Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Professor; Associate Dean of Research, University of California Los Angeles

"Saliva Liquid Biopsy"

March 16, 2017

Peter Stambrook, PhD

Distinguished Research Professor; Professor of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati

"Preservation of Genomic Integrity in Somatic and Embryonic Stem Cells"

February 16, 2017


John Wikswo, PhD

Gordon A. Cain University Professor, Vanderbilt University

"Organs-on-chips, Metabolomics, Systems Biology, and Closing the Hermeneutic Circle of Biology"

December 15, 2016

William Slikker, Jr., PhD

Director of the National Center for Toxicology Research/FDA

"What Animal Models Predict About the Safe Use of Anesthetics in Children"

October 20, 2016

Betty Pace, MD

Tedesco Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Georgia Regents University

"Sickle Cell Disease: Novel Drug Therapy Focused on Clinical Phenotypes"

March 3, 2016


Jan 20, 2023