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An online lecture from De Montfort University delivered by Nobel Prize winner Sir Richard J Roberts FRS.

Studies of transcription in Adenovirus-2 led to the discovery of split genes and mRNA splicing in 1977, for which Sir Richard J Roberts FRS received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1993.

During the sequencing of the Adenovirus-2 genome, computational tools became essential and Sir Richard's laboratory pioneered the application of computers in this area. Currently, he is the chief scientific officer at New England Biolabs, Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Since winning the Nobel Prize, Dr. Roberts has been involved in organizing a number of Nobel initiatives to correct scientific misunderstandings and promote humanitarian causes.

This lecture will discuss the microscopic world of bacteria which is far richer and more complicated than the macroscopic world of elephants and giraffes. These unseen bugs can be friends such as the Bifidobacteria that we find in yoghurt or they can be our deadly foes such as Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that caused the Black Death that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages.

These organisms live in and on our bodies as well as in every environment, even the harshest, found on earth. They may also live elsewhere in the solar system! Without these bugs we would be unable to survive on earth and yet we know rather little about them. We don't even know how many different kinds there are. Perhaps your skin will crawl just a little when you realize how many passengers, both friendly and unfriendly, are riding around with us and lying in wait in the oceans and jungles. But always remember that without the bacteria living in our bodies we would be dead.

Cost and booking

This event is free to attend and advance registration is essential through the Eventbrite page. Places can be booked up to one hour before the event. Registrants will receive a link to join the online talk 24 hours before the event, via their provided email address.


Please contact the DMU Events Office on if you have any questions.