Scientist to Speak at Dr. Jaya Haldar Memorial Seminar

Picture of Joan Steitz, Ph.D. in a lab
January 26, 2022

Joan Steitz, Ph.D., a highly regarded scientist known for her pioneering work in RNA, will be the guest speaker at the Dr. Jaya Haldar Memorial Seminar on Wednesday, February 2, at 2 p.m. on the Queens, NY, campus. Dr. Steitz, a Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale School of Medicine, will discuss “Viral Noncoding RNAs: New Functions, New Structures.”

Dr. Steitz discovered and defined the function of small ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in pre-messenger RNA—the earliest product of DNA transcription—and was the first to learn that these cellular complexes (snRNPs) play a key role in processing messenger RNA by excising noncoding regions and splicing together the resulting segments. Her breakthroughs into the previously mysterious splicing process have clarified the science behind the formation of proteins and other biological processes, including the intricate changes that occur as the immune system and brain develop. 

She earned her doctorate from Harvard University in 1967 and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cambridge, England. Dr. Steitz then joined the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. 

Photo of Dipak and Jaya Haldar posing for a picture
Dipak Haldar, Ph.D., and Jaya Haldar, Ph.D.

In 2018, Dr. Steitz received the Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, an award that has come to be known as “America’s Nobels.” 

In 2015, the seminar was endowed by Dipak Haldar, Ph.D., in memory of Jaya Haldar, Ph.D., a retired full-time professor at St. John’s University. Dr. Jaya Haldar joined the Department of Biological Sciences at St. John’s University from Columbia University Medical School in 1983. Her research focused on the posterior pituitary hormones oxytocin and vasopressin and on understanding the role of oxytocin in the spinal cord.  

The seminar will be held in room 128 of the D’Angelo Center. Click here to register. It will be available on livestream.