October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, Secret Science Club & the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation present the "2017 Lasker Public Lecture" with Evolutionary Biologist & Virologist Paul Turner at the Bell House, FREE!

Viruses are “mysterious quasi-living things.” Their powers are legendary and fearsome. One ultra-tiny virus goes into a cell, takes it over, and thousands of replicas come out. In the world’s worst pandemics, viruses have burned through human populations, sickening and killing millions. Compared to other life-forms, their ability to mutate and evolve is unsurpassed. 

And yet… viruses underpin all of life on Earth. They are the most diverse biological entities on the planet. They’re also the most numerous. The truth is, while we may fear them, we can’t live without them. As scientific research on viruses ramps up—particularly on viruses that attack bacteria—it may turn out that someday a virus saves your life. 

At our 2017 Lasker Public Lecture, evolutionary biologist Paul Turner explores the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to viruses.  He asks:

--Are viruses “alive”? Were they the first organisms on Earth?
--How, when, and why do viruses jump to new species and what are the implications for human health?
--Can viruses be harnessed as cures for dangerous bacterial infections and other diseases?
--What is new research revealing about the nature of viruses and their genomes?

Paul Turner is the Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University’s combined program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Yale’s acting Dean of Science. The author of nearly 100 scientific papers, his research interests include evolutionary biology, evolutionary medicine, experimental evolution, infectious disease, microbiology, phage therapy, and virology.  

Because microorganisms allow experiments on the order of hundreds (or even thousands) of generations, microbes provide a uniquely powerful system to study evolution in action. Dr. Turner’s laboratory uses microorganisms (RNA viruses, DNA viruses, bacteria) as model systems to address how viruses evolutionarily adapt, how viruses interact with the cells of their host species, and how microbes can be used to solve human problems.  

Dr. Turner and his research have been featured in the New York Times, Independent, STAT, and Scientific American, and on iBiology and Science Friday.

-- Imbibe our cocktail of the night, the Strange Symptom
-- Groove to infectious beats 
-- Stick around for the scintillating Q&A

This viral edition of the Secret Science Club, the 2017 Lasker Public Lecture in honor of Al Sommer, is sponsored by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The Foundation works to foster the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, educating the public, and advocating for support of medical research.

The Secret Science Club featuring Paul Turner meets Wednesday, October 25, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self.

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