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Tickets on Sale Now for the Petri Dish!

Join us at Camp Bar in downtown St. Paul for a different kind of science event. No PowerPoints. Lots of lively discussion.

Petri Dish Event

Isn't life fascinating? It gets even more interesting when you put three University of Minnesota experts with distinct perspectives together in the same room for an unscripted, free-flowing discussion. Join us for live music, science-y fun and curiosity-driven conversations about how biology affects our lives and what it means for our future.

October 5 
Where the Wild Things Aren't: The Future of Wilderness and Wildlife From the Serengeti to the Arctic

Virtually every part of the planet is impacted by human activity. With the population of the world projected to grow by another two billion in coming decades, the future of wild places is uncertain even as the effects of climate change complicate matters. The speakers will explore questions about the value of “wildness,” how to balance the needs of humans and wildlife in the face of scarce resources, and what future generations might experience (or not) of wildness.

The world’s leading lion expert and director of the U of M Lion Center Craig Packer, adventure learning maven Aaron Doering, and ecologist and U of M Institute on the Environment Director Jessica Hellmann embark on a wide-ranging conversation.


November 2
It's Complicated: Our Evolving Relationship With the Microbial World In and Around Us

Our relationship to the microbial world in and around us is a bit fraught. From the rise and fall of antimicrobials to the growing popularity of probiotics, our perception of these tiny organisms that populate our soil, air, even our gut, is evolving. New discoveries about role they play in our health and the environment are creating even more ambiguity.

Explore what we know and what we don’t about the vast invisible world under (and in!) our noses with computational biologist and microbiome expert Dan Knights, microbial ecologist Michael Sadowsky and geomicrobiologist Cara Santelli.


December 7
Our Parasites, Ourselves: Unraveling the Counterintuitive, Complicated Relationship Between People, Environment and Policy

Parasites and pathogens are oft-maligned, Eliminate a species of mosquito to fight Zika — or don’t? Deworm captive animals — or not? The choice is ours. We have an unprecedented ability to manage and manipulate nature, however the consequences aren’t always clear cut. Whether trying to protect endangered species or eliminate emerging diseases, policies that determine how humans interact with parasites and pathogens are part of a co-evolutionary feedback loop.

Join evolutionary biologist, animal behaviorist and author of Sex on Six Legs and Paleofantasy  Marlene Zuk, conservation biologist Kristen Nelson and infectious disease expert Dominic Travis for an engaging, unpredictable conversation on these and other bio-conundrums.



Doors open at 6 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m.

Live music and an interactive bio-themed game precede the program.

Food and beverages available for purchase.


March, 2016