Programmed cell death – from biology to therapy

Award winning scientist and key researcher in the field of programmed cell death (apoptosis), Professor David Vaux will be presenting the Nancy Millis Public Lecture at La Trobe University.


Professor David VauxIn this lecture entitled ‘Molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death – from biology to therapy’ Professor Vaux will explain how extra cells produced by cell division must be matched by removing an equal number of cells, and do this by activating an in-built self-destruct mechanism.  If cells in the brain or heart kill themselves when they shouldn’t, it can lead to degenerative disease.  On the other hand, if unwanted, damaged, infected, or mutated cells fail to kill themselves when they should, they can accumulate and cause disease including auto-immune diseases and cancer. 

By studying the molecular mechanisms that implement and control cell death, it has been possible to develop new kinds of medicines that might be able to cause certain types of cancer cells to ‘do the right thing’ and kill themselves. These drugs are currently undergoing clinical trials in Melbourne and throughout the world.

Professor Vaux is currently the Assistant Director at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.  He came to La Trobe University in 2006 as an ARC Federation Fellow and later an NHMRC Australian Fellow in the University’s Department of Biochemistry.  In 2003 Professor Vaux was awarded the Victorian Prize for Science for his research and was elected to the Australian Academy of Science.  In 2010 Professor Vaux received the Academy’s most prestigious award for the biological sciences, the Macfarlane Burnet Medal. 

The Nancy Millis Public Lecture

Professor Nancy Millis was appointed Chancellor of La Trobe University in 1992.  She is a specialist in microbiology and biochemistry and is one of five Australian scientists honoured by their inclusion as one of ‘Australian Science Legends’.
The Nancy Millis Lecture is an annual public lecture presented by La Trobe University’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering, instituted by the Department of Microbiology in 1998. The inaugural lecture was delivered in 1999 by Professor Peter Doherty. From that very first occasion, La Trobe has been privileged to have a series of very distinguished and erudite speakers for the annual lecture. 

Interview/Photo Opportunity

What?  The Nancy Millis Lecture 2011 – ‘Molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death – from biology to therapy’

When?  Tuesday 6 December 2011 6 pm  

Where?  Hooper Lecture Theatre, La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus

For more information please contact:

Lisa Prowling
Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Faculty Science, Technology and Engineering
T (03) 9479 2199 E