Skip to main content

The William J. Larsen Distinguished Lecture Series

About William J. Larsen, Ph.D.

William J. Larsen, Ph.D., was a gifted scientist, consistently producing research at the forefront of cell, developmental, and reproductive biology. Early in his career, he published a landmark paper that conclusively established mitochondrial fission as the mechanism of mitochondrial biogenesis. He went on to become the first to demonstrate the endocytosis of gap junctions. Moreover, his work on the hormonal regulation of gap junction formation and growth culminated in an authoritative review article in Tissue and Cell, "Structural Diversity of Gap Junctions (1988)," which became a Citation Classic. Throughout his career, his sixty-seven peer-reviewed publications—not to mention numerous invited reviews, abstracts, and book chapters—covered a wide range of research areas including adrenal cortical tumor cells, human ovarian carcinomas, preterm labor, cumulus expansion, oocyte maturation, ovulation, folliculogenesis, and in vitro fertilization.

In addition to his many contributions to basic research, Bill loved to teach and was much appreciated by his students. His exceptional ability was reflected in the four teaching awards he received as a professor at the University of Cincinnati. Notably, he was the author of Human Embryology, a textbook for medical students that was the first to incorporate modern experimental research into a subject that had traditionally been taught in a strictly descriptive style. On its initial publication in 1998, it was hailed as "a magnificent book" by the European Medical Journal. With the release of the fourth edition in 2008, the book was renamed, "Larsen's Human Embryology," in recognition of Dr. Larsen's place as the originator of this revolutionary text.

This annual seminar takes place to honor Dr. Larsen's memory. Each year, the invited speaker is a leader in the field of developmental biology. The details of the next lecture are as follows:

March 28, 2024
Liqun Luo, Ph.D.
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Ann & Bill Swindells Professor of Humanities & Sciences
Stanford University

Past Larsen Lecturers:

April 27, 2023
Sean Morrison, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Children's Medical Center Research Institute | Pediatrics Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research
Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics UT Southwestern Medical Center

May 19, 2022
Yang Shi, Ph.D.
Professor of Epigenetics
Ludwig Cancer Research Center, University of Oxford

March 25, 2021
Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D.
Professor of Cancer Biology in Medicine
Medicine/Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, 
Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City, New York

March 28, 2019
Beth Levine, M.D.
Charles Cameron Sprague Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science
UT Southwestern Medical Center

September 13, 2018
Benjamin G. Neel, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center
NYU Langone Health

March 9, 2017
Joan S. Brugge, Ph.D.
Department of Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School

May 19, 2016
Stephen J. Weiss, M.D.
Upjohn Professor of Medicine and Oncology
Research Professor, Life Sciences Institute
University of Michigan

February 19, 2015  
David C. Chan, M.D., Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator  
California Institute of Technology

February 13, 2014
Roel Nusse, Ph.D.
Virginia & Daniel K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research
Professor of Developmental Biology
HHMI Investigator
California Institute of Technology
Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine

January 24, 2013
Eric Wieschaus, Ph.D.
Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology
Nobel Laureate/HHMI Investigator
Princeton University

November 3, 2011
Allan C. Spradling, Ph.D.
Director, Department of Embryology
HHMI Investigator
Carnegie Institution of Washington

  • Zena Werb, PhD 2010
  • Denise J. Montell, PhD 2009
  • Gail Martin, PhD 2007
  • Donald Brown, MD  2006
  • Judith Kimble, PhD 2005
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, MD 2004
  • Edward De Robertis, MD/PhD 2003
  • Igor Dawid, PhD 2002
  • Sir John Gurdon, PhD 2001
  • Christopher Wyle, PhD 2000
Directory Search
Intranet Login

Contact Us

Department of
Cancer Biology

Vontz Center for Molecular Studies
3125 Eden Avenue
PO Box 670521
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0521

Mail Location: 0521
Phone: 513-558-2745
Fax: 513-558-1190
Email: Cancer Biology Dept.