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Baruch Blumberg, Nobel Prize Winner and Hepatitis B Virus Discoverer, to Lecture at UB

By Lois Baker

Release Date: April 2, 2009

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Noble Prize winner Baruch Blumberg will present the 2009 Saxon Graham lecture on April 16.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Baruch S. Blumberg, M.D., Ph.D., winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovery of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), will present a talk on "The Adventure of Science and Discovery," April 16 at 5 p.m. in Butler Auditorium in Farber Hall on the University at Buffalo's South (Main Street) Campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Blumberg has had a major impact on worldwide public health throughout his career. He and his colleagues were responsible for developing the HBV vaccine, which has decreased HBV infection dramatically along with the incidence of liver cancer that can be caused by HBV.

The virus is an important cause of disease and death in many populous nations, especially Asia and Africa. The vaccine and the diagnostic tests that followed the discovery of the virus have saved millions of lives.

Blumberg is a professor of medicine and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Scientist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. More recently, he has been involved in research at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he is director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The institute concentrates on studying the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

Blumberg will discuss both his work with HBV and his work on astrobiology during his lecture.

Among his many affiliations, Blumberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Sponsored by the UB Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM), the lecture is part of the Saxon Graham Lectureship series.

An accomplished epidemiologist, Graham chaired the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine from 1981 to 1991. He is known for his important contributions to the understanding of the impact of diet on cancer, many of which were based on studying dietary habits of Western New Yorkers.

The department, an integral component of UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions, continues Graham's legacy of using epidemiologic tools in research studies to understand to the causes and prevention of diseases in human populations, especially in the Western New York community.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.