As with the parade of technologies before it, biotechnology has inspired fears and fantasies from the deepest wells of human imagination. While the strange bedfellows of environmentalists and religious fundamentalists decry tinkering with life as dangerous and immoral, scientists revel in new insights and tools, patients praise their rescued lives, and dreamers at the fringe envision at-home genomics and a future species called “humanity plus.” Who is right, who is wrong, and what if they all are both? And most importantly, how can you find out for yourself?
Mark Bünger of Lux Research will describe the possibilities and limitations of biotechnology today, using practical experiences and examples from his own journey from programming cubicle gopher to biotech lab rat, and explaining today’s headlines in stem cells, bionanotechnology, and synthetic biology. This talk will give PICNIC participants a common understanding of biochemistry, to advance their own discussions of life sciences’ societal and commercial role. While he may not de-mystify anything, he hopes to dispel boredom and fear of science, and replace it with curiosity and awe at the profound elegance of the machinery of life.
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