Skip to main contentSkip to breadcrumbsSkip to sub navSkip to doormat


Austin Smith to give Max Birnstiel Lecture

17 May 2018

The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) cordially invites you to attend the talk:

‘The Design of Pluripotency: Plasticity and Order’ 
By Austin Smith
Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Date: Wed., 23 May 2018, 11.00 a.m.
Venue: IMP Lecture Hall, Campus-Vienna-Biocenter 1, 1030 Vienna

Austin Smith is a pioneer of stem cell research, focused on studying pluripotency, stem cell renewal and differentiation. His lab studies pluripotent stem cells derived from early embryos or generated by somatic cell reprogramming. Pluripotent cells from rodents and primates are compared to elucidate common principles and species-specific adaptations. The goal of the research is to understand how pluripotent stem cells maintain broad developmental potency and how they prepare for and make cell fate decisions. Ultimately, the aim is to control the lineage decision process. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms which govern stem cell fate is of fundamental significance in cell and developmental biology, and the capabilities arising from such knowledge have major biomedical applications.

Austin Smith became interested in pluripotency as an undergraduate in Oxford. He pursued this interest through PhD studies in Edinburgh and postdoctoral research back in Oxford. In 1990, he returned to the University of Edinburgh as a Group Leader and from 1996 was Director of the Centre for Genome Research, later the Institute for Stem Cell Research. In 2006 he moved to Cambridge where he was the founding Director of the Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute.

Professor Smith is a Medical Research Council Professor, an EMBO Member, and a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and of London. In 2010 he was awarded the Louis Jeantet Prize and in 2016 he received the ISSCR McEwen award for Innovation.

Austin Smith has been invited to the IMP by Meinrad Busslinger.

About the Max Birnstiel Lectures

The Max Birnstiel Lectures are a special series of seminars at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna and represent the highest award that the IMP can give to outside scientists. They are named after the founding director of the institute, Max L. Birnstiel, who passed away in 2014. Each year, five to six scientists are invited to deliver one of these lectures, among them a number of Nobel Prize laureates. The Max Birnstiel Lectures attract considerable attention on campus and within the wider scientific community and invariably draw a large audience to the IMP.

Programme of the Max Birnstiel Lectures 

Videos of past Max Birnstiel Lectures