Annual Lectures

Dr. Martin Leon speaking at the Nicholson Lecture

Dr. Martin Leon speaks at the annual Nicholson Lecture at Tufts University School of Medicine

Please join us for these special lectureships made possible through the support of generous philanthropic gifts.

Biomedical/Biochemical Research
The Gerhard Schmidt, M.D. Memorial Lecture (May)

Gerhard Schmidt, M.D.

Gerhard Schmidt, M.D., was a great scientist and a humanist. A man of charm and charisma, a noted researcher and a devoted educator, he combined brilliance, humor, idealism, and apparent simplicity in an extraordinary way. Professionally known for his work in nucleic acid and phospholipid metabolism, he was deeply involved in areas as diverse as chamber music and literature.

He joined the Tufts faculty in 1940 and, soon after his arrival, made a most important contribution to the development of nucleic acid metabolism, describing a quantitative method for the determination of DNA and RNA in tissues. The simplicity and reliability of this method played an important role in early research in molecular biology. Dr. Schmidt pioneered work on enzymes involved in nucleic acid degradation and was a world authority in the field of nucleic acids and phospholipids. In 1973, the same year in which he was named professor emeritus at Tufts, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Although in poor health in later years, he worked regularly at his laboratory almost until his death on April 24, 1981. The Gerhard Schmidt Memorial Lecture, established in 2002, serves as a final tribute to a life devoted to science and humanism. The Schmidt Lecture sponsors cutting-edge research presentations from visiting seminar speakers and is hosted by the Department of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology.

The Joseph H. Nicholson, M.D. Lecture (June)

The Joseph H. Nicholson, M.D. Lecture was established in 1985 by Mrs. Adeline B. Nicholson and her son, Robert Nicholson, Esq., in memory of one of Tufts’ finest teachers and graduates, Joseph H. Nicholson, A30, M33. Dr. Nicholson was an internist with special expertise in cardiology. The Nicholson Lecture provides an opportunity for visiting lecturers to present scientific accomplishments in the field of cardiology to the medical school and hospital community.

Cardiology/Angiogenesis, Molecular Physiology & Pharmacology
The Jeffrey M. Isner, M.D. Endowed Memorial Lecture (November)

Jeffrey M. Isner, M.D., M73

Jeffrey M. Isner, M.D., M73, was the chief of cardiovascular research and director of the Human Gene Therapy Laboratory, where he played a pioneering role in developing gene therapies for treating obstructive atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease.

At the forefront of gene therapy research before his untimely death in 2001, Jeff Isner’s dedication to cardiovascular research, for which he received many awards, including the AMA’s Doctor William Beaumont Award in Medicine for outstanding research achievements by an investigator under the age of 50, was only matched by his deep love and devotion to his patients, colleagues, friends, and family.

Since 2007, the Tufts community has convened for the Isner Lectureship each November to hear cutting-edge presentations by leaders of the basic or clinical scientific communities on topics in the field of angiogenesis-related research and other seminal studies in vascular biology and cardiovascular medicine.

The William Shucart, M.D. Lecture

William Shucart, M.D., served as neurosurgeon-in-chief at Tufts-New England Medical Center as well as professor and chair of neurosurgery at Tufts University School of Medicine from 1981–2005. The Shucart Lectureship was established in 2005 in honor of Dr. Shucart by gifts from colleagues and friends to recognize his commitment to advancing the field of neuroscience and the treatment and cure of neurological diseases and disorders. The Shucart Lecture is held in conjunction with the annual Neuroscience Symposium.

Sidney Leskowitz Memorial Lecture (October)

Dr. Sidney Leskowitz was professor of pathology and served as acting dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences from 1982–1984 and as director of the Immunology Program from 1972–1984. An outstanding teacher and scientist, with an exemplary lecture style, Dr. Leskowitz was greatly admired and respected by students and colleagues alike. His textbook Immunology: A Short Course, first published in 1988, has been used in many medical schools. He wrote more than 100 research papers, most concerning basic mechanisms of recognition and response to foreign substances by the immune system. Applying his skills as an organic chemist, he constructed a variety of chemically defined antigens that served as model stimulants of the immune system allowing the distinction between cellular and humoral immunity. The Leskowitz Lectureship was established by colleagues and friends after his death in 1991.