Ochoa Lecture Series












Severo Ochoa was an illustrious member of the NYU School of Medicine research community for over 30 years.  Originally from Spain, he moved to Washington University in St. Louis in 1940 to escape the ravages of World War II and to work with Carl and Gerty Cori.  In 1942, he came to NYU as a Research Associate in Medicine and established one of the leading enzymology laboratories in the world.  He quickly moved through the ranks to become Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology in 1946.  Commenting on his rapid rise, Ochoa said, "Why do I need a professorship?  I can do my work here where I am now.  Will the research suffer if I become a Department Chair?"  In 1954, Ochoa became the chair of the Chemistry department, renamed Biochemistry on his insistence.  He was lured to this position and moved across First Avenue from the Department of Pharmacology to the gorgeous new state-of-the-art laboratories called the MSB (Medical Science Building) labs.  Dr. Ochoa's research dealt mainly with enzymatic processes in biological oxidation and synthesis and the transfer of energy.  However, his work on oxidative phosphorylation turned out to be one of his greatest contributions to RNA synthesis and the genetic code, and in 1959, Dr. Ochoa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synthesis of RNA along with his former postdoctoral fellow Arthur Kornberg.  In honor and recognition of Ochoa's achievements, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology established a lectureship series entitled Frontiers in Biochemistry.


Ochoa Lecture List

Year Lecturer Title

Charles Weissmann, MD, PhD
Professor and Chairman
​Department of Infectology
​Scripps, Florida

"The Winding Path From Phage to Prion"

Tony Hunter, PhD
American Cancer Society Professor
Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center
Renato Dulbecco Chair, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

"Posttranslational Modifications in Cell Regulation"

Stuart Schreiber, PhD
Morris Loeb Professor
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

"Novel Mechanism of Action (nMoA) Compounds in Therapeutics Discovery"

Kevan Shokat, PhD
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor and Chair of Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
Professor, Department of Chemistry, UC Berkeley
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

"Chemical Tricks for Drugging the Undruggable"