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Joram Piatigorsky Basic Science Lecture

April 11, 2023

3:00 PM to 4:30 PM ET

Lipsett Amphitheater, NIH Building 10
9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) are pleased to announce that Dan-Eric Nilsson, Ph.D., from Lund University in Sweden, will deliver the inaugural lecture in the Joram Piatigorsky Basic Science Lecture and Award series.

The lecture takes place on Tuesday, April 11, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET in the Lipsett Amphitheater in Building 10 on the NIH campus. It will be followed by a light reception. Trainees and scientists from all NIH ICs are encouraged to attend. This event will not be livestreamed or broadcast.  We invite you to join us in person. Registration is encouraged to help us estimate attendance for the post-lecture reception.

About the Joram Piatigorsky Basic Science Lecture and Award
Made possible by the generous philanthropic support of Lona and Joram Piatigorsky, this series brings attention to notable basic sciences contributions by eye and vision scientists to a diverse general scientific audience, such as experts in molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, neuroscience, and computer science. With special consideration for basic eye and vision scientists who take risks exploring little-studied species and imaginative ideas, the Lecture and Award promotes and communicates basic discoveries in eye and vision research that result in far-reaching observations that may inform widespread areas of science—from the eye to the world as it were—rather than the other way around.

Nilsson’s work focuses on the evolution of the eye and vision by studying animal eyes, including box jellyfish, fan worms, velvet worms, and clams. In a description of his research, he notes, “The visual system is almost pure optics and electronics in a biological packing. It is a breathtaking experience to discover the enormous diversity of eye designs, and to realize how it has evolved to meet different demands in different animals.” His basic research in eye evolution offers fascinating insights to all and has increased our understanding of biology with profound relevance to medicine and health.

Joram Piatigorsky, Ph.D., is a molecular biologist and eye researcher who in 1981 founded the Laboratory of Molecular and Development Biology at the NEI, where he served as its chief until 2009. There, he established the concept of gene sharing on the basis of the Institute’s research on lens crystallins in various vertebrates and invertebrates, such as scallops and jellyfish, that few even knew had an eye. He generalized and extended the gene-sharing concept in a book, Gene Sharing and Evolution, followed by other books of fiction and non-fiction on science and life. Now an NIH scientist emeritus and author, Piatigorsky and his wife Lona seek to promote basic research and the efforts of the NEI through the Joram Piatigorsky Basic Science Lecture and Award Fund at the FNIH.

American Sign Language interpreting services are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event, should contact Claudia Costabile at or the NIH Interpreting Office directly, via email, at Requests should be made at least five business days in advance in order to ensure interpreter availability.


Claudia Costabile
NEI Media Lead
Building 31, 6A32
31 Center Drive MSC 2510

Last updated: March 30, 2023