Harvard professor gives lecture at New College

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photo courtesy of Casey Morell/Catalyst

Nathan Billings, from Harvard Medical School, gave a lecture on Nov. 5 in Soo Bong Chae Auditorium about how the thyroid affects retinal development.

On Nov. 5, Nathan Billings from Harvard Medical School’s Cepko Lab gave a presentation in Soo Bong Chae Auditorium entitled “Analysis of Thyroid Response Element Activity During Retinal Development” as part of a series of guest lectures sponsored by New College’s Department of Natural Sciences. The lecture was well attended, with Dr. Billings commenting on more than one occasion how pleased he was at the turnout of more than 20 faculty members and students.

Billings completed his undergraduate education at Syracuse University and is in the last throes of his Ph.D program at Harvard. His lecture detailed the importance of the thyroid gland to development in vertebrates, explaining how hormones released by the thyroid impact both mental and physical growth. Research with organisms that did not have the thyroid present, either through birth or through other research means, showed stunted growth and limited genetic development. Billings’ research dealt specifically with how hormones released by the thyroid affected development of the retina, the part of the eye that has light-sensitive cells that aid in creating images in the brain.

Having recently served on an admissions panel at Harvard, following the lecture Billings took questions from the audience concerning admissions to

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