7th Rodney Porter Memorial Lecture

Dr Sydney Brenner, FRS
(Distinguished Professor, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, USA)

Sydney Brenner is one of the past century’s leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology. Most recently, Brenner has been studying vertebrate gene and genome evolution. His work in this area has resulted in new ways of analyzing gene sequences, which has developed a new understanding of the evolution of vertebrates.

Among his many notable discoveries, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined. He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics. His research with Caenorhabditis elegans garnered insights into aging, nerve cell function and controlled cell death, or apoptosis.


  • Medicine and Science, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • D.phil., Chemistry, Oxford University, England
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Virus Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley

    Awards and honours:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, 1971
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2002