Advancing Leadership in Science & Technology

Upcoming Lectures:

May 8, 2017: George M. Church, PhD.

Engineering Human Genomes & Environments

George M. Church, PhD.
Professor of Genetics, and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT (HST)
Director of HMS NHGRI-Center of Excellence in Genomic Science
Director of the Personal Genome Project Broad Institute & Wyss Harvard Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering

George Church is professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard.

George is widely recognized for his innovative contributions to genomic science and his many pioneering contributions to chemistry and biomedicine. In 1984, he developed the first direct genomic sequencing method, which resulted in the first commercial genome sequence (the human pathogen, H. pylori). He helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 and the Personal Genome Project in 2005. George invented the broadly applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers.

Past Lectures:

December 5, 2016: Dr. Elizabeth Loftus


Dr. Elizabeth Loftus
Distinguished Professor
University of California, Irvine

For several decades, Dr. Elizabeth Loftus has been manufacturing memories in unsuspecting minds. Sometimes this involves changing details of events that someone actually experienced. Other times, it involves planting entire memories event events that never happened, what are called “rich false memories.”   People can be led to believe that they did things that would have been rather implausible. They can be led to falsely believe that they had experiences that would have been emotional or traumatic had they actually happened. False memories, like true ones, also have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions, and behaviors.   Can we tell true memories from false ones?   In several studies, Loftus created false memories in the minds of people, and then compared them to true memories. Once planted, the false memories look very much like true memories, in terms of behavioral characteristics, emotionality, and neural signatures. If false memories can be so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about “regulating” this mind technology?   And what do these pseudo memories say about the nature of memory itself?

This lecture is being held in collaboration with the Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P. Street NW, Washington, D.C. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free, but registration is required. Registration opens on November 5 at

May 9, 2016: Dr. Jennifer Doudna


Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna
Departments of Molecular & Cell Biology and Chemistry
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Innovative Genomics Initiative
University of California, Berkeley

The genome editing system called CRISPR earned Science magazine’s “2015 Breakthrough of the Year.” The advent of facile genome engineering using the bacterial RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9 system in animals and plants is transforming biology. In this talk, CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna presents a brief history of CRISPR biology from its initial discovery through the elucidation of the CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme mechanism, providing the foundation for remarkable developments using this technology to modify, regulate, or visualize genomic loci in a wide variety of cells and organisms. These results highlight a new era in which genomic manipulation is no longer a bottleneck to experiments, paving the way to both fundamental discoveries in biology, with applications in all branches of biotechnology, and strategies for human therapeutics. Recent results regarding the molecular mechanism of Cas9 and its use for targeted cell-based therapies will be discussed.

Co-hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science with the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and The Kavli Foundation.

Please click here to view the lecture.

December 7, 2015: Dr. Craig Venter

Dr. Craig Venter spoke on December 7, 2015 on Human Longevity.

View the YouTube video of his presentation here.

May 11, 2015: Dr. Alan Lightman

Dr. Alan Lightman spoke on May 11, 2015 on Science and Religion.

View the YouTube video of his presentation here.