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Utah Biologist is Harvard Foundation’s Scientist of the Year

March 13, 2007 — University of Utah biologist Baldomero “Toto” Olivera, who looks for possible new medicines in the toxins of venemous sea-dwelling cone snails, has been named Scientist of the Year by Harvard University’s Harvard Foundation, which issued the news release below.

Lee Siegel, science new specialist
University of Utah Public Relations


For Immediate Release

Harvard University
The Harvard Foundation

— Christina Dias;, Harvard Foundation Communications: 617-495-1527 or
— Robert Mitchell;, Office of University Communications: 617-496-5399

Harvard Foundation honors Dr. Baldomero Olivera as Scientist of the Year

Cambridge, Mass. — Noted molecular biologist Dr. Baldomero Olivera will be honored by the Harvard Foundation for his notable contributions to the field of biology at the annual Harvard Foundation Albert Einstein Science Conference: Advancing Minorities and Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics in Harvard’s Science Center.

Dr. Olivera is Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of the Philippines Medical School in Manila, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He has over 250 scientific publications in the biological sciences. In 2006, he was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.

Dr. Olivera, who was nominated by members of the Harvard Foundation’s Faculty/Student Advisory Committee, is widely known for his groundbreaking research with the neurotoxins produced by venomous cone snails, Conus, found in the tropical waters of the Philippines.

“Dr. Olivera is a widely respected biological scientist for his excellent work in neurotoxicology and his dedication to students in the field,” said Dr. S. Allen Counter, Director of the Harvard Foundation. “In his research, teaching, and social commitments, he is a distinguished role model whom we honor for his fine example.”

“I have known Professor Olivera for many years and hold him in the highest regard,” said Dr. William Gelbart, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. “I am delighted that he will be honored as the Scientist of the Year at the annual Albert Einstein Science Conference.”

The Annual Albert Einstein Science Conference: Advancing Minorities and Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics is named in memory of the distinguished scientist Albert Einstein who visited historically black colleges to demonstrate his commitment to equal education and civil rights, and who spoke out against racism and anti-semitism in America and around the world.

Dr. Olivera will be honored at a luncheon at Harvard’s Pforzheimer House Hastings Room at 12:30PM on Friday, March 16, 2007.

On Saturday, March 17, 2007, Dr. Olivera will join some thirty Harvard undergraduate students and around one hundred boys and girls from Boston and Cambridge public schools for the Harvard Foundation’s annual Partners in Science program. This program features lectures and demonstrations at the Science Center for inner city junior high school students by Harvard science faculty, and interactive science experiments with Harvard College students.

The Science Conference program is co-sponsored with several Harvard College student organizations, including the Harvard Undergraduate Biological Sciences Society and the Harvard Philippine Forum.

The entire Harvard community is welcome to attend the reception for Dr. Olivera prior to the honorary luncheon from noon-12:30PM on Friday, March 16, 2007 in Pforzheimer House.