Distinctive Voices banner

Upcoming Events


Tickets are free but limited - online reservations are required.

Please join the e-mail list to receive announcements when reservations open 1 week prior to each event.

Spring 2018 Distinctive Voices Schedule of Events

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Science Friction: What’s Slowing Progress in Biomedicine

American taxpayers spend about $30 billion a year to support the National Institutes of Health. Most of that funding supports research at universities, at the boundary of medicine and biology. Unfortunately it appears that a great deal of that research is not robust, and can't be reproduced in other labs. Richard Harris took a year's leave from his job as science correspondent at National Public Radio to explore the reasons for these failings and to explore ways that the scientific enterprise can be improved. The result was his book, Rigor Mortis.

» Richard Harris, National Public Radio

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Opportunities for Ocular Gene Therapy

Ocular gene therapy had a major success in 2017 with the FDA approval of gene therapy for the condition RPE65 Leber Congenital Amaurosis. The treatment restores some degree of vision to individuals with a lifetime of deep visual impairment due to mutations in the RPE65 gene. This success built on the discovery 25 years previous that the RPE65 protein is critical for proper function of the light-sensitive photoreceptors in the retina and that RPE65 gene mutations caused congenital severe vision impairment (i.e. amaurosis). About 20% of human genetic diseases involve the eye or visual system, and nearly 200 genes are directly linked to development, survival and function of retinal neurons that subserve vision. These are termed “monogenic diseases” because DNA changes or mutations in a single gene result in the disease condition. Many of these monogenic ocular disorders are suitable for therapy by gene replacement. This presentation will explore the strategies for developing a human gene therapy trial, using a human study we are conducting for X-linked retinoschisis as an example.

» Paul Sieving, National Institutes of Health

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

» Nichole Lighthall, University of Central Florida

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

» Wendy Rogers, University of Illinois

Recent Events

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Robots Under the Ice, and One Day, In Space?

Europa is one of the most enticing targets in the search for life beyond Earth. With an icy outer shell hiding a global ocean, Europa exists in a dynamic environment and sources of energy that could sustain a biosphere. Beneath ice shelves on Earth, processes such as accretion, melt and circulation mediate the ice as an important element of the climate system. Here, ice-ocean exchange may be similar to that on Europa, but the harsh environment and thickness of the ice make it difficult to observe.

This presentation will explore environments on Europa and their analogs here on Earth. NASA will launch the Europa Clipper Mission in 2021, but while we wait to get there, current research is being conducted on the McMurdo and Ross Ice Shelves using the under ice AUV/ROV Icefin. This new robotic capability is used to gather unique new data relevant to climate and planetary science, and develop techniques for exploring Europa, an ice covered world not so unlike our own.

» Britney Schmidt, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Big Data: Beyond the Hype

The Internet and mobile computing have paved the way for collecting data at a rate and volume never before possible. From retail to medical domains, and all things in between, the hype surrounding “big data” is reshaping science and society alike. In this talk we will discuss the state of the art in machine learning, its limitations, and how leveraging data on both the big and small scale can impact our daily lives.

» Erik Linstead, Chapman University Machine Learning and Assistive Technology (MLAT) Lab

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Agriculture and the Nine Billion Piece Environmental Sustainability Puzzle

Agriculture is both essential to modern societies and one of the greatest threats to environments globally. Projected increases in incomes and population, and shifts in diets, pose great agricultural risks around the world to biodiversity via agricultural land clearing, to water supplies via fertilizer and pesticide pollution, and to climate change through nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. Potential solutions include closing yield gaps via post-modern agricultural intensification, shifts to healthier diets, land use planning, and improved agricultural trade. The adoption of such solutions will require an unprecedented confluence of behavioral, cultural and policy changes.

» David Tilman, University of Minnesota

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software