Do Gene Patents Kill?

The Controversy Surrounding DNA Patenting

Thursday, October 13
6:00 pm
UMKC Law School
Thompson Courtroom

Patent Attorney Dan Ravicher  faces off against Hans Sauer, representative for the biotech industry, in what promises to be a lively debate about the future of gene patenting.

For more details on the controversy and debate participants, click here.


Better Angels of our Nature

Steven Pinker to Speak at Linda Hall Library

Linda Hall Libary
5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri
October 12, 2011
7:00 pm

Lectures are free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and tickets are required. Complete the online form, email or call (816) 926-8772 with your name, address, phone number, and the number of individuals in your party.  Please specify the lectures you plan to attend.  Please contact Eric Ward at 816-926-8753 for more information on this event.

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species’s existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.

Here is a link to the Dr. Pinker’s book that goes on sale October 4:

Hope to see you at the lecture!

Dr. Cynthia Kenyon to Speak in Lawrence

Higuchi Memorial Lecture
KU School of Pharmacy, room 2020
Thursday, October 6th
5:30 pm

In 1993, Cynthia Kenyon and colleagues’ discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of the tiny roundworm C. elegans sparked an intensive study of the molecular biology of aging. Aging had long been assumed to be a passive consequence of molecular wear and tear. Kenyon was skeptical of this idea, thinking that something as universal and fundamental as aging might well be subject to control by the genes. Kenyon’s discoveries have led to the realization that there exist genetic control circuits for aging, involving hormones as well as proteins that regulate the activities of entire groups of cell-protective genes. The long-lived mutants Kenyon and others have identified are resistant to many age-related diseases, raising the possibility of a new strategy for combating many diseases all at once: targeting aging itself. By manipulating genes and cells, Kenyon and her colleagues extended the lifespan of healthy, active C. elegans by six fold, demonstrating the extraordinary plasticity of aging.

Cynthia Kenyon graduated valedictorian in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Georgia in 1976. She received her PhD from MIT in 1981 and then did postdoctoral studies with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, studying the development of C. elegans. Since 1986 she has been at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Biochemistry, where she was the Herbert Boyer Distinguished Professor and is now an American Cancer Society Professor. Dr. Kenyon has received many honors and awards for her findings. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine and she is a past president of the Genetics Society of America. She is now the director of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging at UCSF.

Links of Potential Interest

and if you or your students can’t make the lecture, here are some YouTube videos they may enjoy (I am not sure why I can no longer embed them in the post)… 

Hope to see you there!

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin!


Charles Darwin once wrote, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”  With that quote in mind, I decided to compile a few of the Darwin related resources that I have recently and happily become inundated with.  So, click, read, download, listen, and watch, all the while gaining knowlege and gradually losing any confidence that you may have had… 

Continue reading “Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin!”

Steven Pinker Lecture

The following information on the Steven Pinker Lecture was cut and pasted from the KCPL Website.

What: Lecture on his newest book – The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
Where: KC Public Library – Central Branch, 14 W. 10th Street
When: September 9, at 7pm

Continue reading “Steven Pinker Lecture”