Cal Tech's Tirrell to give Lindsay Lecture Wednesday

David A. Tirrell, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, will discuss his research Wednesday (May 5) as the distinguished speaker for the 2010 J.D. Lindsay Lecture Series at Texas A&M University.Tirrell, the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, is a noted authority on macromolecular chemistry. He is scheduled to present "Reinterpreting the Genetic Code" at 3 p.m. in Rm 106 of the Jack E. Brown Building, capping the year-long lecture series, which is sponsored by Texas A&M's Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering.The genetic code, Tirrell says, provides a set of molecular instructions for turning DNA into proteins. Throughout the last decade cells have been outfitted with modified molecular machinery that enables them to use non-standard sets of amino acids to make proteins. These developments, he explains, are leading to new approaches to macromolecular design, protein evolution, biological imaging, and proteome-wide analysis of cellular processes.Tirrell's contributions to macromolecular chemistry have been recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been awarded the Arthur C. Cope Scholar, Carl Marvel, Harrison Howe, S. C. Lind and Madison Marshall Awards of the American Chemical Society, as well as the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry. He holds the Chancellor's Medal of the University of Massachusetts, the G.N. Lewis Medal of the University of California Berkeley, and the degree of Doctor honoris causa from the Technical University of Eindhoven.After earning a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974, Tirrell enrolled in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts where he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1978. After a brief stay at Kyoto University, Tirrell accepted an assistant professorship in the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1978.Tirrell returned to Amherst in 1984 and served as director of the materials research laboratory at the University of Massachusetts before moving to the California Institute of Technology in 1998. He served as chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech from 1999 until 2009.In honor of Professor J.D. Lindsay, Texas A&M's first chemical engineering department head, the department established the Lindsay Lecture Series to bring speakers to the university. Coming from both industry and academia, the lecturers are recognized for their accomplishments in the practice, teaching and/or research of chemical engineering. Each year one lecturer is chosen as the series' distinguished speaker. The series also allows the lecturers several days for visiting the university and the department and for exchanging ideas on teaching and research objectives and methods.