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Insight Lecture Series

Space Astronaut Kate Rubins

Science in Extreme Environments: Building Extraterrestrial and Earth-based
Research Capabilities

Kate Rubins, Ph.D.
NASA Astronaut

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
6:00–7:00 p.m.

Caspary Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065

For details please contact
Lindsey Cole at 212-327-8183

Space exploration presents unique and fascinating scientific challenges. It can also inform research conducted in other challenging environments such as high containment biosafety laboratories and remote Central African villages suffering outbreaks of disease. Dr. Rubins will discuss the exceptional research environment on the International Space Station as well as parallels to earth-based research.

Dr. Rubins conducted her undergraduate research on HIV-1 integration in the Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She analyzed the mechanism of HIV integration, including several studies of HIV-1 integrase inhibitors and genome-wide analyses of HIV integration patterns into host genomic DNA. She obtained her Ph.D. from Stanford University and, with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rubins and colleagues developed the first model of smallpox infection. She also developed a complete map of the poxvirus transcriptome and studied virus-host interactions using both in vitro and animal model systems.

Dr. Rubins has been a fellow and principal investigator at MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where her lab studied viral diseases that affect Central and West Africa. Her research focused on poxviruses and host-pathogen interaction as well as viral mechanisms for regulating host cell mRNA transcription, translation and decay. In addition, she conducted research on transcriptome and genome sequencing of filoviruses (which include ebolavirus and marburgvirus) and Arenaviruses (including Lassa virus) and collaborative projects with the U.S. Army to develop therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses.

In 2009, Dr. Rubins was selected as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class and recently graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training.

Dr. Rubins belongs to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other organizations, and has received several honors, including being named one of Popular Science magazine’s Brilliant Ten in 2009.

The Insight Lecture Series fosters wide-ranging discussion of issues of sciences, health, politics, and arts within our scientific community on campus. Over the years, the series has included writers Malcolm Gladwell and Joyce Carol Oates, economist Jeffrey Sachs, actor and filmmaker Alan Alda, architect Frank Gehry, and other leaders in their fields of endeavor.

In addition to Kate Rubins, the 2013-2014 Insight Lecture Series includes technology expert and Cornell dean Daniel Huttenlocher, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, and journalist and author Robert Caro. Please visit to view a complete list of dates and more information about our guest speakers.

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