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The Petri Dish: A Revolution In The Making

Insights into new genetic engineering technologies with the potential to radically reshape medicine

The Petri Dish

Over the last decade, scientists made huge strides in boosting our ability to synthesize large fragments of DNA (i.e. genes) and use them to program living organisms. We can now design new genes on a computer and get them printed and shipped to their lab a few days later. This technology, coupled with tools that allow us to precisely edit the genomes of both simple and complex organisms, has the potential to reshape the way we think about life and nature, and opens the door to new treatments for cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and more. Our panel will discuss these scientific developments and their implications for the future of medicine and public health.  

Panelists include Michael Smanski (2015 Damon Runyon Breakthrough Scientist award recipient) who studies microbial genomes in search of natural products with medicinal value, viral immunology expert Ryan Langlois, and Heather Zierhut, associate director of the U’s Genetic Counseling graduate program. Moderator: Alex Eilts.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Doors open at 6 p.m., Program starts at 7 p.m.
Live music and trivia precede the program. 
Food and beverage available for purchase
Location: Camp Bar, downtown St. Paul


Available online at

The Petri Dish explores how biology affects our lives and what it means for our future. No PowerPoints. Just live music, trivia and lots of lively, curiosity-driven conversations on timely topics with University of Minnesota experts. 


January, 2017