NHMU Lecture Series 2014: Pushing the Boundaries of Life

The tools of genetic engineering give us the power to manipulate life at the most fundamental level.  In this year's Lecture Series, join the Natural History Museum of Utah for an exploration of how the genomics revolution is reshaping our understanding of life and the transformative impact it is projected to have on society.
Over the course of four lectures, we’ll hear from a genomics pioneer pursuing the creation of synthetic life, a science journalist investigating the re-engineering of animals for purposes from trivial to profound, a cardiologist exploring how the information in our individual genomes will change the way doctors diagnose and treat our illnesses, and a medical ethicist researching the ethical, social, and legal implications of genetic technology.

"The Future of Genomic Medicine: From Pre-Womb to Tomb"

Lecture by Dr. Eric Topol

New research on the genetic variants associated with a wide range of chronic diseases, as well as those that impart good health, will allow physicians to decipher the information in our individual genomes and replace the status-quo of one-size-fits-all-medicine with individualized health care. Utilizing this information and a host of new digital technologies, doctors will be able to identify our risk of disease and tailor treatments to our individual genomic signatures.

Listen to Dr. Topol's lecture for an exploration of the research and technological frontiers that will one day make individualized medicine routine clinical practice and change every facet of medicine from pre-womb to tomb.

Click Here for KCPW recording of Topol's lecture. 

"Frankenstein's Cat: Genetic Engineering, Ethics, and Biotech's Brave New Beasts"

Lecture by Emily Anthes

Biotechnology has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life and the power to modify animals in profound new ways. Scientists have already created all sorts of new creatures, including glow-in-the-dark dogs, cloned cats, flu-free chickens, and super-smart mice.

In Anthes' lecture, she takes you on a journey from petri dish to pet store as she explores how and why scientists are re-engineering animals and the ethical implications of our new scientific superpowers. 

Click Here for KCPW recording of Anthes' lecture. 


"Exploring Your Genome: How Much Would You Like to Know?"

Lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Botkin

Do you have gene variants associated with heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s? Advances in genetic technologies will allow us to explore our personal genetic make-up in great detail, understand risks to our health, and provide new opportunities to improve our health.  However, interpreting the results of genetic tests and knowing how to act on them remains difficult.  Our society also has a dark history of stigma and discrimination from the misunderstanding and misuse of genetic information.

Join Dr. Jeffrey Botkin for an interactive exploration of ethical, legal, and social questions surrounding the new field of genomic medicine.

Click Here for KCPW recording of Botkin's lecture. 


"Life at the Speed of Light"

Lecture by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

In 2010, Dr. Venter and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) successfully constructed the first "synthetic bacterial cell" putting humankind at the threshold of a new phase of biological research, one that is enabling us to go from reading the genetic code (sequencing genomes) to now writing the genetic code for designing new species. The science of synthetic genomics will have a profound impact on society, including new methods for chemical and energy production, human health and medical advances, clean water, and new food and nutritional products. 
Dr. Venter, regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his numerous pioneering advances in genomics, guided the 2014 lecture audience through this emerging field, detailing its origins, current challenges, and the potential positive advances.

*Lecture not available.