Storer Lectureship Archive 2016-Present

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. 

March 15-16, 2023
Using Natural History to Understand Tropical Agroecosystems (peer lecture)
Food Systems at a Crossroads (public lecture)

Ivette Perfecto, Ph.D., James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice, University of Michigan

Ivette Perfecto is the James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice. Her research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in rural and urban agriculture. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and is interested more broadly in the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty. She is the co-author of four books, Breakfast of Biodiversity, Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty, and Coffee Agroecology, and Ecological Complexity and Agroecology.

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March 7, 2023
Sequence Homology Searches: The Future of Deciphering the Past (peer lecture)

Sean Eddy, Ph.D., Harvard University; HHMI Investigator

Sean Eddy is a computational biologist at Harvard University. Before moving to Harvard in 2015, he was a group leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus, and before that, a faculty member in the Genetics department at Washington University in St. Louis. He received a bachelor's degree from Caltech, a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and did postdoctoral work at NeXagen in Boulder and at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.

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October 24-25, 2022
Sequencing the Dead: Reconstructing the Past Using Ancient DNA (public lecture)
Climate Change and the Deconstruction of Species (peer lecture)

Beth Shapiro, Ph.D., UC Santa Cruz; HHMI Investigator

Dr. Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. As professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, she uses DNA recovered from bones and other remains to study how species evolved through time and how human activities have affected and continue to affect this dynamic process. Her work focuses on organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture, speciation, and pathogen evolution. Her current work also develops techniques to recover increasingly trace amounts of DNA, such as from environmental and water samples, and use these data to discover how biological communities and ecosystems might be made more resilient. A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Shapiro is an award-winning popular science author and communicator who uses her research as a platform to explore the potential of genomic technologies for conservation and medicine. Her newest book, Life As We Made It: How 50,000 Years of Human Innovation Refined – and Redefined – Nature, was published in October 2021.

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October 3-4, 2022
Magic Habit to Prevent Disease and Improve Performance (public lecture)
Pleiotropic Benefits of Circadian Rhythms and Time-Restricted Eating (peer lecture)

Stachidananda Panda, Ph.D., Salk Institute

Professor Satchin Panda has been a leader in the field of circadian biology throughout his career in science. His discovery of a blue light sensor in the retina has led to human-centric lighting in built environment to optimize sleep, mood, and brain function. He is a pioneer in studying time-restricted eating; he discovered that eating within a consistent 8-12 hours can prevent or reverse chronic diseases and increase healthy lifespan. Finally, his research contributed to circadian genomics studies in insects, rodents and primates and have offered a blueprint for understanding the molecular mechanisms by which circadian rhythms regulate behavior, physiology and metabolism.

Dr. Panda received a number of notable awards to date, including the Whitehall Foundation Junior Faculty award, the Pew Scholar Award in Biomedical Research, and the Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research. He is affiliated with the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, the goal of which is to discover biological principles to optimize human performance and catalyze innovations in human health by studying athletes of various ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and disciplines. Finally, Dr. Panda is an accomplished author and has published two books, The Circadian Code and The Circadian Diabetes Code.

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April 25-26, 2022
Sequencing genomes of all species for a new era of biology (public lecture)
Evolution and mechanism of brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language (scientific lecture)

Erich Jarvis, Ph.D. Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language Rockefeller University

Dr. Erich Jarvis is a leading neurobiologist. Using innovative research techniques that often defy convention, he is demonstrating what songbirds can reveal about the evolution of human language and learned behavior. The next time you hear the melodious sound of a songbird, think of what these birds may one day tell us about the origins of human language and how our brain learns behavior. His work has established a close anatomical similarity in the brain mechanisms that control vocal communication in songbirds and humans. Dr. Jarvis graduated from Hunter College in New York City with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Mathematics and later earned his Ph.D. Neurobiology and Animal Behavior from Rockefeller University. Before deciding on a career in science, he was invited to audition for the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in Harlem. Dr. Jarvis is the recipient of key awards and honors for his achievements, including: One of the highest awards given by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, and one of the highest given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) -- the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award. He is also a research investigator of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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April 18, 2022
How is electrical signal generated? Structural and mechanistic investigations of Nav channels (Research lecture)

Nieng Yan, Ph.D., Shirley M. Tilghman Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Dr. Nieng Yan joined the faculty of School of Medicine, Tsinghua University in 2007. Her lab focused on the structural and functional study of membrane transport proteins exemplified by the glucose transporters and Nav/Cav channels. In 2017, she returned to Princeton University where she received her Ph.D. as the founding Shirley M. Tilghman Professor of Molecular Biology. Dr. Yan was an HHMI international early career scientist in 2012-2017, the recipient of the 2015 Protein Society Young Investigator Award, the 2015 Beverley & Raymond Sackler International Prize in Biophysics, the Alexander M. Cruickshank Award at the GRC on membrane transport proteins in 2016, and the 2019 Weizmann Women & Science Award. She was elected as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2019.

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April 12-13, 2022
The promise and practice of inclusive teaching (Public lecture)
The revolution will be backward designed (Research lecture)

Bryan Dewsbury Ph.D., STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University

Dr. Bryan Dewsbury is an Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Director of the STEM Transformation Institute. He is the Principal Investigator of the Science Education And Society (SEAS) research program, where he and his team explore questions pertaining to the social context of education. He is a Fellow with the John N. Gardner Institute and the RIOS (Racially-Inclusive Open Science) Institute where he assists institutions of higher education in transforming their practices toward equity-mindedness. Dr. Dewsbury has conducted keynotes and faculty development workshops at over 100 institutions of higher education in North America, the United Kingdom and West Africa. He is a co-author of the upcoming publication 'Norton's guide to inclusive teaching' and founder of the Deep Teaching Residency, a national faculty development workshop for instructors interested in transforming their courses toward equity-minded approaches.

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April 4-5 2022 
A Journey: From Looking Down A Microscope to Looking Out the Window (Public Lecture)
Telomere Maintenance in Human Disease Processes (Scientific Lecture)

Presenter: Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Nobel Laureate and Professor Emerita at the University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Blackburn has won many prestigious awards throughout her career. In 2009, Dr. Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She received the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 2006, and in 2007 was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. In 2008 she was the N. American Laureate for L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991) and the Royal Society of London (1992), a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and a Member of the Institute of Medicine (2000). She was elected the 1998 President of the American Society for Cell Biology and the 2010- 2011 President of the American Association for Cancer Research. She served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002-2004 and has been awarded honorary degrees by 11 Universities.

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March 9, 2020 – TO BE RESCHEDULED
Sequence Homology Searches: the Future of Deciphering the Past

Presenter: Sean R. Eddy, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Applied Mathematics, Harvard University

Dr. Eddy is the Elmore C. Patterson Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and of Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research program seeks to decipher the evolutionary history of life by comparative genomic analysis. He has a special interest in RNA and has recently argued for a “modern RNA world” hypothesis, that “many of the RNAs we see today are modern inventions, highly adapted to regulatory roles in complex organisms”. Most recently, his lab has started to tackle the question of how small genomes manage to specify biological complexity.  Dr. Eddy received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014. 

January 22-23, 2020
Restoration Science and Practice in a Political Ecology Framework (Public Lecture)
Sustainable Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Search for a Process-based Understanding (Scientific Lecture)

Presenter: Margaret A. Palmer, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland & Director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center 

Dr. Palmer’s research focus is on coastal and freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on restoration of rivers, streams, and wetlands. She is an international leader in restoration ecology, has > 175 peer-reviewed articles and led the 2nd Edition of the Foundations of Restoration Ecology, a widely used text. She led the first national synthesis of river and stream restoration in the U.S. that amassed a database with ~40,000 projects. Palmer serves on numerous scientific advisory and editorial boards including the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science magazine and the Water Sciences & Technology Board of the National Academies of Science. She is a fellow of AAAS, the Ecological Society of America (ESA), Lilly Scholars Program, and Society of Freshwater Science (SFS).  Among her awards are the SFS Award of Excellence, ESA Sustainability Science Award, Ruth Patrick Award from the Assoc. for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography, Ramon Margalef Lecturer Award (Portugal), and Hynes Lecturer Award (Canada).  She has been an invited speaker in numerous and diverse settings including regional and international forums, science-diplomacy venues (e.g., in North Korea), and popular outlets such as the Stephen Colbert show. Palmer is also known for her work at the interface of science, policy, and law and has provided expert testimony to congress, in federal court, and to numerous regional entities.

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January 8-9, 2020
Decoding complex diseases with statistical models

Presenter: Katherine S. Pollard, Director of the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology & Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCSF

Dr. Pollard is the Director of the Gladstone Institute of Data Science & Biotechnology and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Institute for Human Genetics, Quantitative Biology Institute, and Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF. The Pollard lab develops bioinformatics methods for comparative analysis of massive biological datasets, with a focus on genomics and other transformative technologies. The lab’s mission is to enable statistically rigorous, quantitative comparisons across species, developmental stages, and conditions. A major emphasis is creating open source bioinformatics software.        Dr. Pollard was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 1995 and the Sloan Research Fellowship in 2008. The UC Berkeley School of Public Health recognized her as Alumna of the Year in 2013 and as one of its 75 most influential alums in 2018. The San Francisco Business Times honored her in 2018 as one of its Women Who Lead in the Life Sciences. She is a member of the California Academy of Sciences and a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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). 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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May 24, 2017
Towards a Richer Evolutionary Game Theory in Biology

Presenter: John McNamara, Washington State University
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April 19, 2017
Peroxisome Dynamics in Arabidopsis

Presenter: Bonnie Bartel, Rice University
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February 22, 2017
Imaging Life at High Spatiotemporal Resolution

Presenter: Eric Betzig, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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February 21, 2017
All Things Great and Small: The Role of Telescopes and Microscopes in Understanding Our Universe and Ourselves

Presenter: Eric Betzig, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
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February 9, 2017
Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment

Presenter: Chris Field, Stanford Woods Institute
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February 8, 2017
Climate Change: 2017

Presenter: Chris Field, Stanford Woods Institute
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February 2, 2017
Convergent Regulatory Evolution and the Origin of Flightlessness in Palaeognathous Birds

Presenter: Scott V. Edwards, Harvard University
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February 1, 2017
The Transition From Dinosaurs to Birds: A DNA Perspective

Presenter: Scott V. Edwards, Harvard University
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November 21, 2016
Meiotic Recombination: A Key to Chromosome Segregation, A Drive to Genome Evolution

Presenter: Bernard DeMassey, Institute of Human Genetics
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May 19, 2016
Do Fish Feel Pain?

Presenter: Victoria Braithwaite, Institute for Advanced Study
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February 25, 2016
The Evolution of Human Skin Pigmentation and its Implications for Health and Social Wellbeing

Presenter: Nina G. Jablonski, Pennsylvania State University
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January 11, 2016
Chemical Biology and Endomembrane Trafficking in Plants

Presenter: Natasha Raikhel, University of California, Riverside
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