Seth Darst, Jack Fishman Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics, Chemical Biology, and Structural Biology at the Rockefeller University, will present the Ernest C. Pollard Lecture at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 24, in 108 Wartik Laboratory on the Penn State University Park campus. The free public lecture, titled “Structural basis for substrate selection by the SARS-CoV-2 replicase,” is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Darst’s research group studies RNA polymerase, a complex molecular machine that creates RNA—the blueprint for proteins—in a process called “transcription.” He uses bacteria as a model system to explore the mechanism and regulation of transcription. His group determines three-dimensional structure of RNA polymerase and associated proteins using imaging techniques called X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy and combines the resulting information with biophysical, biochemical, and genetic approaches to understand how transcription and gene expression are controlled.
Darst is an elected Fellow of the National Academies of Sciences. His additional honors and awards include the Gregori Aminoff Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2021, a Rockefeller University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2018, and an Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Trust Research Award from Weill Cornell Medicine in 1994. He was named a Pew Biomedical Scholar in 1995.
Prior to joining Rockefeller University in 1992, Darst was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering at Stanford University in 1984 and 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1982.
The Ernest C. Pollard Lecture is named in honor of the professor of physics who taught at Penn State from 1961 to 1971 and founded the Department of Biophysics. In 1979 the Department of Biophysics merged with the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry to form the present Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.