Bay Area Science Festival Signature Event
Joe DeRisi, Steve Palumbi, Alison Gopnik, JJ Miranda, Chris McKay
Friday, November 2, 2012
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater
Scientists are superheroes too! While they can't leap tall buildings in a single bound or shoot weird web goo out of their wrists, they do take steps towards solving the big problems our world is faced with today. Meet 5 local scientists who are changing the way we understand the world. In this TED-style event, you'll meet these hidden superheroes – learning about their science, feeling their passion, and hearing their incredible stories.
Joe DeRisi, UCSF
Joseph DeRisi, PhD., is currently an associate professor at UC San Francisco in the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Prior to joining the faculty at UCSF in 1999, Joe was a UC Fellow for approximately one year. During his graduate work at Stanford University in the laboratory of Patrick O. Brown, Joe was one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling and is nationally recognized for his efforts to make this technology accessible and freely available.
He was the lead instructor of the popular annual Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories course "Making and Using cDNA Microarrays." Joe was a Searle Scholar, and is now a Packard Fellow. He was the recipient of the 2001 JPMorgan Chase Health Award and the 2004 WIRED RAVE Award.
In addition, Joe holds the first Tomkins Chair at UCSF and was chosen for a Macarthur Award in 2004. Joe has extended his work to the study of infectious diseases, including malaria and viral pathogens.
Steve Palumbi, Stanford
Stephen Palumbi teaches and does research in evolution and marine biology at Stanford University, and has long been fascinated by how quickly the world around us changes. His work on the genetics of marine organisms tries to focus on basic evolutionary questions but also on practical solutions to questions about how to preserve and protect the diverse life in the sea. DNA data on the genetics of marine populations like corals helps in the design and implementation of marine protected areas for conservation and fisheries enhancement. A second focus is on the use of molecular genetic techniques for the elucidation of past population sizes and dynamics of baleen whales, with the notion of recreating a better sense of the ecology of the virgin ocean.
Palumbi has lectured extensively on human-induced evolutionary change, has used genetic detective work to identify whales for sale in retail markets, and is working on new methods to help design marine parks for conservation. His first book for non-scientists, The Evolution Explosion, documents the impact of humans on evolution. His latest is an unusual environmental success story called "The Death and Life of Monterey Bay". He also helped write and research and appears in the BBC series "The Future Is Wild" and the History Channel's "World Without People". Other recent films appearances include "The End of the Line" and an upcoming Canadian Broadcasting series "One Ocean".
Palumbi's other passion: microdocumentaries. His Short Attention Span Science Theater site received a million hits last year. And his band "Sustainable Soul" has several songs out, including "Crab Love" and "The Last Fish Left."
Alison Gopnik, UC Berkeley
Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development and was the first to argue that children’s minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions. She is the author of over 100 journal articles and several books including “Words, thoughts and theories” (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff), MIT Press, 1997, and the bestselling and critically acclaimed popular books "The Scientist in the Crib" (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl) William Morrow, 1999, and "The Philosophical Baby; What children’s minds tell us about love, truth and the meaning of life" Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009. She has also written widely about cognitive science and psychology for "Science", "The Times Literary Supplement", "The New York Review of Books", "The New York Times", "New Scientist" and "Slate", among others. And she has frequently appeared on TV and radio including “The Charlie Rose Show” and “The Colbert Report”. She has three sons and lives in Berkeley, California with her husband Alvy Ray Smith.
JJ Miranda, Gladstone Institutes
Dr. Miranda’s research focuses on the molecular basis of how genes are organized in a cell. For these investigations, he studies human viruses associated with cancer—including the Epstein-Barr virus and the human papillomavirus (HPV)—with the goal of identifying drug targets to disrupt the viral life cycle.
As a graduate student at Harvard University, Dr. Miranda was awarded a Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and received Certificates of Distinction in Teaching.
Dr. Miranda earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and a PhD in biochemistry from Harvard. He then joined the UCSF Fellows program, which allows young scientists to establish independent research laboratories immediately after finishing graduate school.
Chris McKay, NASA Ames Research Center
Dr. Christopher P. McKay, Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames. Chris received his PhD. in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982 and has been a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center ever since. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human settlements. Chris has been involved with polar research since 1980, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys and more recently to the Siberian and Canadian Arctic to conduct research in these Mars-like environments. Dr. McKay is a recipient of the prestigious Kuiper Award from the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society for his contributions.