Former Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor and first Head of the Department of Microbiology, Dr David Woods is a fitting scholar to unpack in a public lecture, the intricacies of the history of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA tonight (20 September 2017) at 18h00, Eden Grove Red Theatre.
Historians claim that James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of the structure of DNA in Nature in 1953. Their model, based on Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction patterns from DNA crystals, finally explained how genetic material could be copied and passed on to future generations. It seeded a revolution that changed biology forever, according to the New Scientist in 2003.
The history of the discovery of the structure of DNA starts with the deduction that, genes come in pairs and are inherited as distinct units, one from each parent. Dr Woods will describe the sequence of events leading to the discovery of the structure.
Dr Woods, a guest of the department of Botany, is a part time Director of the Synexa Institute for Bioprospecting. He became the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University in 1996 and retired in 2006. He obtained a BSc Hons Degree at Rhodes University in 1962, D. Phil Degree from Oxford University in 1963 and became Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology in 1972.
He later became a Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Cape Town, Director of the Microbial Genetics and Industrial Microbiology Research Unit and an A-rated scientist in 1984.
He has contributed more than 200 research papers and produced 40 PhD graduates. He is also the former Chairman of the Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology Division of the International Union of Microbiological Sciences.
In 2007, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by Rhodes University.