Media Advisory

Monday, October 23, 2006

Distinguished Bioengineer to Present “Natural Products: Challenges and Opportunities” at NCCAM’s Distinguished Lecture Series


On October 25, 2006 the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will host its Distinguished Lectures in the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Ram Sasisekharan, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will present “Natural Products: Challenges and Opportunities.”


Wednesday, October 25, 2006, from 11 a.m. to noon
Masur Auditorium, NIH Clinical Center (Building 10)
10 Center Drive, Bethesda, Maryland
The event is free and open to the public and will be videocast live at


Dr. Sasisekharan’s research group is playing a central role developing tools and technologies to understand the function of cellular components called glycans. Glycans are complex sugars found on virtually every cell surface — they coat cells and regulate cell function. Science is slowly realizing the importance of these sugars to human health. In fact, the MIT team has discovered that glycans are integral to the communication between cells that causes them to divide, migrate, and die. Glycans are also found in a vast array of natural products including ginseng and chondroitin, which have been the focus of recent research by the team. During his lecture, Dr. Sasisekharan will illustrate the challenges and opportunities that arise from exploring natural products and discuss the potential of this research to improve human health.

For more information or reasonable accommodations, call 301-594-5595, or the Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s mission is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices in the context of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM’s Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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