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Arghaya Dalapati – Online Video Tuesdsay, December 14th 2010

H. Robert Horvitz – 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Nobel Lecture

http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/71/

Dr. Robert Horvitz won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sydney
Brenner and John Sulston for his work on apoptosis – programmed cell death. His studies
improved the understanding of neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He
is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the McGovern
Institute of Brain Research at MIT, and a member of the MIT Center for Cancer Research.

He argues and states that apoptosis, or programmed cell death is a universal, natural
occurring theme that occurs in all different cells. He cites examples from how toads lose their
tails, human fingers, and how ducks feet are all apart of programmed cell death. He states how
95 percent of blood cells, along with 85 percent of nerve cells all die because of cell death. He
states how this happens so quickly, that it causes individuals never to have realized it. One
must analyze cell death over a long period of time. Dr. Horvitz goes onto explaining how many
different diseases have their foundations embedded in apoptosis. He goes onto explaining his
studies concerning organ development in C. Elegans, and continues making his arguments of
programmed cell death and how it isn’t actually suicide.

(I noticed that I kept loosing points from my EC assignments due to negligence in the
analysis criteria, thus I decided to summary the lecture briefly and spend the majority of my
time critiquing)

Dr. Horvitz obviously comes from a high academic background that gives credibility to
his statements. Not only that, he has won a Nobel Prize in his research and idea’s thus giving
me no choice but to believe that his research is true. It is amazing how one lab can completely
reshape the thoughts and ideas of pre-known science. It makes me further believe that
scientists should be held at the highest esteem because of their critical thinking and their ability
to reshape the world. I believe that in the future, apoptosis can be used to cure different
diseases along with leading to insight for new technologies and more research. Individuals like
Dr. Horvitz and his entire lab, through hard work and dedication to their field lead the way for
innovation and the ability to change our world. I believe his research, because 1) I do not have
enough experience nor to make a judgment at the moment, 2) others individuals whose whole
life has been dedicated to researching the field of Apoptosis agree with Dr. Horvitz.