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Petri Dish Spring 2022

Join us this spring to hear how biology affects our lives and what it means for our future. 

Petri Dish

Better living through biology?

Wednesday, March 23  |  6 p.m.  |  Urban Growler in St. Paul

“Better living through chemistry” was a hallmark of the 20th century. Our century is defined by biological innovation. What can biology learn from the successes, failures, and unintended consequences of past innovations?  Synthetic biology, biomining, and gene editing are allowing us to do unprecedented things. But doing unprecedented things is no longer unprecedented. Our panel will explore where the broad field of biotechnology is headed in coming decades and what researchers, regulators and policymakers can do to assess and prevent negative and often unintended consequences of innovation. Panelists: Claudia Schmidt-Dannert and Dan Voytas

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A matter of fate: The long tail of chemicals in the environment

Wednesday, April 27  |  6 p.m.  |  Urban Growler in St. Paul

Science has led to massive advances in not only technologies but also in our ability to create materials the world has never known.  But what happens to these compounds at the end of their lifecycle?  All sorts of chemicals from medications to plastics end up in our environment from our landfills to our water supply. In some cases, we know about their impact on plants and animals, but often we don't know the full impacts of these substances in the environment or how long they will stick around. Our panelists will discuss what scientists are doing to bridge this gap in knowledge and the implications for us and for our waterways. Panelists: Sebastian BehrensThomas Niehaus and Elizabeth Wattenberg

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February, 2022