Herbert Memorial Lecture

The Herbert Memorial Story

vollum_edherbert_nasThe Herbert Memorial Lecture is given annually in honor of the Vollum's founding director, Edward Herbert. This event is sponsored by Cell Signaling Technology, which is directed by Michael Comb, a former Herbert graduate student. Each year, an outstanding scientist is invited to engage in discussion and fellowship with Vollum faculty and students, as well as to give an open talk to the university. Invited speakers embody the values of thorough, far-reaching, and elegant scientific investigations, for which Dr. Herbert was well known. They include Nobel Laureates Rod MacKinnon, Phillip Sharp, Erwin Neher, and Richard Axel.

The Vollum Institute has fulfilled its founders' aspirations by becoming a world-class neuroscience research institute that stands today as a testimony to his vision.

Dr. Herbert was posthumously elected to the National Academy of Sciences after his death on February 19, 1987.

Download Dr. Herbert's obituary (124 KB) written by John Adelman for the NAS.

David Clapham: 2019 Herbert Memorial Lecturer

David Clapham, MD, PhD

A member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Clapham is a leader in the field of ion channel research. His research focuses on the role of calcium as an intracellular messenger and on the signals that control ion channels that carry calcium between cells. The identification and characterization of ion channels may make it possible to develop drugs that alleviate many disorders.

Clapham was trained in electrical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Emory University in Atlanta. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and his postdoctoral fellowship with Erwin Neher at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany. After several years on the faculty at the Mayo Clinic, Clapham moved to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he became the Aldo R. Castañeda Professor of Cardiovascular Research, as well as professor of neurobiology and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He became an HHMI investigator in 1997.

Now at Janelia Research Campus, the Clapham lab studies the primary cilium, a structure that projects from the surfaces of many types of cells, including neurons and astrocytes. Defects in primary cilia may contribute to a number of diseases. Their efforts are focused on studying the structures of proteins in cilia, and how these proteins alter cilia function in neurons.

Clapham directs HHMI’s portfolio of science programs, which includes the HHMI Investigator Program. He also oversees the development of innovative programs that support early-career scientists and initiatives that enhance diversity in science.

The title of his Herbert Memorial Lecture is: "Primary Cilia: What Do They Do, How Do They Work?"

Learn more about Dr. Clapham's current research at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus

There will be a reception in the Vollum Courtyard directly following Dr. Clapham’s Herbert Memorial Lecture.

Past Herbert Memorial Speakers


Re-writing the language of life: Impacts and challenges of DNA editing
Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.
HHMI, University of California, Berkeley


Illuminating biology at the nanoscale with single-molecule and super-resolution imaging
Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D.
HHMI, Harvard University


TRP channels of the pain pathway: Connecting physiology to atomic structure
David Julius, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco


Phosphoinositide signaling in the control of membrane dynamics and interactions
Pietro DeCamilli, M.D.
HHMI, Yale University School of Medicine


Modulating the gain of channels, cascades, and circuits
Richard Tsien, Ph.D.
New York University Langone Medical Center


Novel neural messengers of life and death
Solomon H. Snyder, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Information processing and integration of the basal ganglia
Shigetada Nakanishi, M.D., Ph.D.
Osaka Bioscience Institute


The emergence and function of spinal motor circuits
Thomas Jessell, Ph.D.
HHMI, Columbia University Medical Center


Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification by Myosin Molecules and Ion Channels in Hair Cells of the Inner Ear
A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University


Watching the Brain Compute and Tracing Its Wires: New Methods to Solve Old Riddles
Winfried Denk, Ph.D.
Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research


An Rb/E2F/DP Complex and Chromatin Remodeling Antagonize a Ras Pathway during C. elegans Vulva Development
Robert Horvitz, Ph.D.
HHMI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Oxygen Sensation: Unconventional Signaling for an Unconventional Sense
Cori Bargmann, Ph.D.
HHMI, The Rockefeller University


The Atomic Basis of Selective Ion Conduction in Potassium Channels
Rod MacKinnon, M.D.
HHMI, The Rockefeller University


RNA Splicing and RNA Interference
Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Ca2+ Signals Controlling Neurotransmitter Release and Short Term Synaptic Plasticity
Erwin Neher, Ph.D.
Max-Planck Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie


The Return of the Human Genome
Sydney Brenner, Ph.D.
Molecular Sciences Institute, Inc.


The Molecular Biology of Smell
Richard Axel, M.D.
HHMI, Columbia University


Potassium Channel Regulation
Lily Jan, Ph.D.
HHMI, University of California, San Francisco


Trimeric G Proteins: Structure and Function
Henry Bourne, M.D.
University of California, San Francisco


ARIA: A Protein that Promotes the Maturation of Synapses
Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.
Harvard Medical School


New Aspects of Peptide Hormone Biosynthesis
Donald F. Steiner, Ph.D.
HHMI, University of Chicago


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