Professor Bill Catterall FRS gave the 32nd Pater Garland Lecture entitled "The Structural Basis for Electrical Signalling" today.
Bill Catterall is Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Bill received a B.A. in Chemistry from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA in 1968, a Ph.D. in Physiological Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore in 1972, and then spent three years as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Marshall Nirenberg at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland. Nirenberg had decided to study the brain after receiving the Nobel Prize in 1968 for "Breaking the Genetic Code", and so Bill's postdoctoral training was in neurobiology and molecular pharmacology. After three more years as a staff scientist at NIH, Bill joined the University of Washington as Associate Professor of Pharmacology in 1977, was promoted to Full Professor four years later, and in 1984 succeeded Nobel Laureate Edwin Krebs (the 1996 Peter Garland Lecturer) as the Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Washington, a position he held for the next 32 years.
Bill is most famous for discovering voltage-gated sodium and calcium channel proteins, which initiate electrical and chemical signaling in excitable cells, and his work has contributed much to our understanding of their structure, function, regulation, and molecular pharmacology. These achievements are built on a strong biochemical foundation focused on tackling difficult-to-handle membrane proteins. The topic of his lecture is particularly apt, since Peter Garland spent much of his research career studying proton transport across biological membranes. Bill's awards include the Gairdner International Award of Canada in 2010, Canada's most prestigious science prize. He was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 1989, and made a Foreign Associate of The Royal Society in 2008.
About the lecture series:
The Peter Garland Lecture was set up in 1985 to mark the achievement of Dundee’s first Professor of Biochemistry in building up the Department into one of the strongest in the UK over the period 1970 to 1984. Fourteen Peter Garland lecturers received, or subsequently went on to win, a Nobel Prize.