A History of Scientific Discovery
The Tracy and Ruth Storer Lectureship in the Life Sciences was established in 1960, to invite distinguished biological scientists to campus to present lectures and meet with faculty members and graduate students in their field of interest.
Past Storer Lectures have included Nobel laureates, members of the National Academy of Science and acclaimed authors in medicine and the life sciences.
April 17-18, 2019
Genes and Behavior and A Tale of Tails: Genetics Development and Function of Tail Length Evolution
Presenter: Hopi E. Hoekstra, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
Dr. Hoekstra’s research focuses on understanding the evolution of morphological and behavioral diversity in mammals – from identifying genes contributing to coloration to those that affect complex behaviors. Her research has taken her around the globe, including studies of grizzly bears in Yellowstone, rodents in Chile and Argentina, and mammals in the Kuril Islands. Dr. Hoekstra has received the Lounsbery Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. In 2016, she was elected into the National Academy of Sciences; in 2017, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; and in 2018, the American Philosophical Society.
February 21, 2019
Floods, Drought, and River Food Webs
Presenter: Mary E. Power, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley
Dr. Power's research focuses primarily on food web, landscape and community ecology. She often performs her research close to home in the Eel River of California. Her research seeks to provide insights that will help forecast how river-structured ecosystems will respond to watershed and regional scale changes in climate, land use and biota. Since 1988, she has been the director of the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, an 8,000-acre natural reserve protected for university teaching, research and outreach. Dr. Power is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the California Academy of Sciences. She received the Kempe Award for Distinguished Ecologists and was awarded the G. Evelyn Hutchison Medal from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.
January 28-29, 2019
Domestic Animals: Models for the Evolution of Phenotypic Diversity (Public Lecture)
Evolutionary Genomics: Lessons from Darwin’s Finches, the Ruff and the Atlantic Herring (Scientific Lecture)
Presenter: Leif Andersson, Professor of Functional Genomics, Uppsala University; Professor of Animal Genomics, Texas A&M
Dr. Andersson is a specialist in genetics and genome biology and has been working on comparative genomics using domestic animals as study objects for the last 30 years. He has performed groundbreaking research on the relationship between genetic and phenotypic variation and the result is a steady stream of findings on genotype-phenotype relationships such as mutations affecting pigmentation, gaits in horses, comb morphology in chickens and muscle growth in pigs. Recently, his research program has expanded to include natural populations such as Darwin’s finches and the ruff and Atlantic herring. Dr. Andersson is a member of The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, The Swedish Royal Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, Foreign Associate of the National Academy (USA) and International Member of the American Philosophical Society. He was awarded the Wolf Prize in Agriculture 2014.
October 22, 2018
The Origin and Emergence of Global Coupled Biogeochemical Cycles
Presenter: Dr. Paul Falkoski, Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Marine and Coastal Sciences
Founding Director, Rutgers Energy Institute
Dr. Falkowski is considered one of the world’s pioneers in the field of biological oceanography. His research interests are focused on origins of life, how electron transfer reactions are mediated, and how organisms transformed the geochemistry of our planet. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in the Marine Sciences, the G. Evelyn Hutchison Award, the European Geosciences Union Vernadsky Medal, and the ECI Prize. Most recently in 2018, Dr. Falkowski shared the 2018 Tyler Prize, known as the Nobel Prize of the environment, with Dr. James J. McCarthy of Harvard University for their decades of leadership in understanding and communicating the impacts of climate change.
October 10, 2018
Natural Products as Probes of the Pain Pathway: From Physiology to Atomic Structure
Presenter: Dr. David Julius, Professor and Chair of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco
The Julius Lab is interested in understanding how signals are received and transmitted by the nervous system, exploring the properties of natural products to discover a family of thermo- and chemo-sensitive ion channels that enable sensory nerve fibers to detect hot or cold temperatures, or chemical irritants. With the aid of genetic, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods, they have determined how these ion channels contribute to pain sensation. Dr. Julius is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (honorary).
May 7, 2018
Bacteria of the Candidate Phyla Radiation
Presenter: Dr. Jill Banfield, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
Dr. Banfield also holds an appointment in the geochemistry group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her expertise is in geomicrobiology and microbial communities. She is interested in understanding the relationship between microorganisms and their natural environments. Dr. Banfield was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2000, the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2010, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science in 2011, and the L’Oreal-UNESCO award for Women in Science in 2011. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and to the Australian Academy of Science in 2015.
March 12, 2018
From Single to Collective Cell Motility: What Can We Learn from Using Mathematics?
Presenter: Leah Edelstein-Keshet, Professor of Mathematics University of British Columbia
Dr. Edelstein-Keshet is a mathematical biologist and has made far-reaching contributions to the mathematics and modeling of the cell, the immune system and biological swarms, as well as applied mathematics education. In 1995, she became the first female president of the Society for Mathematical Biology. She was awarded the Krieger-Nelson Prize of the Canadian Mathematical Society in 2003, and became a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2014. Dr. Keshet authored the SIAM book Mathematical Models in Biology.
March 7-8, 2018
Shapeshifting Genomes: Learning About Genome Evolution from Cancer (Public Lecture)
Mechanisms Driving Rapid Genome Evolution (Scientific Lecture)
Presenter: David Pellman, Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Pellman uses a combination of genetics, biochemistry, and live-cell imaging to study mechanisms underlying cell division and the maintenance of genome stability. He seeks to understand how cell division defects shape cancer genomes and develop new therapeutic strategies for cancer. Pellman received the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research and was named a Stohlman Scholar by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He became a Howard Hughes Investigator in 2008.
January 24, 2018
The Future of Coral Reefs
Presenter: Peter J. Mumby, professor, Marine and Spatial Ecology Laboratory, University of Queensland
Dr. Mumby specializes in coral reef ecology and management. His research interests include the measurement of resilience, trophic cascades, reef fisheries impact and management, marine protected area design under climate change, reef function and quantifying ecosystem services. Dr. Mumby received the 2010 Marsh Award for Marine Conservation from the Zoological Society of London, the 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation and a 2011 Rosentiel Award for Marine Science from the University of Miami. He was named the 2015 Fellow of the International Society for Reef Studies and received the Mid-career Award from the International Society for Reef Studies for contributions to coral reef science.
December 6, 2017
Males Exist, Does It Matter?
Presenter: Hanna Kokko, professor of evolutionary biology and environmental studies at the University of Zürich
Dr. Kokko started her career studying engineering and applied mathematics, but later became fascinated by the mathematical logic and foundation that underlies biological phenomena. Her work is at the interface between evolution and ecology. In particular, she is interested in studying the evolution and ecology of reproductive strategies and behavior in animals. She was awarded the 2010 Per Brinck Oikos Award and the British Ecological Society's Founder's Prize. Prior to her appointment at the University of Zürich, she was a professor of evolutionary ecology at the Australian National University. While in Australia, she was
named an Australian Laureate Fellow. She was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2014.
October 25, 2017
Common Errors that Bedevil Biomedical Research and How to Fix Them
Presenter: Richard Harris, distinguished science writer and NPR correspondent on science, medicine and the environment
Harris has worked as a science correspondent with National Public Radio since 1986. Prior to this, he was a science writer at the San Francisco Examiner. He was president of the National Association of Science Writers from 1996 to 1998, co-founded the DC Science Writers Association in 1987 and served as president of the Northern California Science Writers Association. He received the 2010 AAAS/Kavli Science Journalism Award for his coverage of the BP oil spill, shared a Peabody award for reporting that the tobacco industry was aware of the hazards of smoking and was honored by the American Geophysical Union for his work on climate change. Richard now focuses on biomedicine and took a leave 2015-16 to write the book, Rigor Mortis, which details the challenges of rigor and reproducibility in biomedical research.