Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series

2021-2022 Dean's Distinguished Lecture in the Basic Sciences

p53 and Mdm2: masters of life and death

Carol Prives, PhD

presented by

Carol Prives, PhD

Da Costa Professor of Biology

Department of Biological Sciences

Columbia University




Dr. Prives is the Da Costa Professor of Biology at Columbia University. She received her BSc and PhD degrees from McGill University. She completed postdoctoral training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Weizmann Institute, where she became a faculty member. Dr. Prives joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University in 1979 as associate professor. She became professor in 1987, was named DaCosta Professor of Biology in 1995, and served as department chair between 2000 and 2004.

Since the late 1980’s her work has focused on the p53 tumor suppressor protein, the product of the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers. She and her group have elucidated aspects of the structure and function of the p53 protein especially as it relates to its roles as a transcriptional activator. In parallel, her group has examined how cancer-related mutant forms of p53 regulate tumorigenesis. Work from her laboratory has also illuminated the functions of the key p53 negative regulators, Mdm2 and MdmX.

Dr. Prives has served as chair of both the Experimental Virology and the Cell and Molecular Pathology Study Sections of the NIH, and she was a member of the NCI Intramural Scientific Advisory Board. She has served on the Advisory Boards of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Massachusetts General Cancer Center, and the American Association for Cancer Research. She is currently a member of the Scientific Council of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and is co-chair of the Scientific Academic Advisory Council of the Weizmann Institute of Science. She also serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Genes & Development, Cancer Discovery, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Prives has received several honors including being named an American Cancer Society Research Professor, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science, the AACR Academy, and the Royal Society. She has presented numerous named lectures and has received awards that include the NCI Rosalind E Franklin Award for Women in Science, the Paul Jansen Prize in Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship Award, the Ernst W Bertner Award from MD Anderson, and the AACR GHA-Clowes Award. Dr. Prives also received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, McGill University.

Faculty Profile



Past Distinguished Lecturers in the Basic Sciences

2020-21 – Henry M. Colecraft

2019-20 – Wesley Grueber

2018-19 – Donna Farber

2017–18 – Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

2016–17 – Rene Hen

2015–16 – Steven L. Reiner

2014–15 – Frank Costantini

2013–14 – Richard Mann

2012–13 – Steven A. Siegelbaum

2010–11 – Andrea Califano

2008–09 – Robert S. Kass

2007–08 – Marian Carlson

2004–05 – James E. Rothman

2003–04 – Andrew Marks

2002–03 – Eric Gouaux

2001–02 – Vincent Racaniello

2000–01 – Virginia E. Papaioannou

1999–2000 – Lloyd A. Greene

1998–99 – Kathryn Calame

1997–98 – Gary Struhl

1996–97 – Michael D. Gershon

1995–96 – Thomas M. Jessell

1994–95 – Riccardo Dalla-Favera

1993–94 – Barry Honig

1992–93 – Argiris Efstratiadis

1991–92 – Stephen P. Goff

1990–91 – Arthur Karlin

1989–90 – Frederick Alt

1988–89 – Richard Axel

1987–88 – Wayne Hendrickson

1986–87 – Reinhold Benesch

1985–86 – Elvin Kabat

1984–85 – Harold Ginsberg

1983–84 – Eric Kandel

1982–83 – Brian Hoffman