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Genome: Unlocking Life's Code

Public Education Programs and Events

Genome Unlocking Life's CodeTo complement the exhibition "Genome: Unlocking Life's Code," the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Museum of Natural History, and The Smithsonian Associates have partnered to develop a series of educational programs, including lectures, symposia, discussion panels and informal gatherings.

The programs were designed to spark lively conversations among the public and genomics leaders, scientists, scholars, and the arts community about relevant and timely subjects in the genomics field.

Programming was made possible thanks to generous grants and gifts made through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. 

Programs and Events

Past Events

Genome: Unlocking Life's Code Exhibition Closing Symposium: Genomics and Global Health: What does the future hold? (September 30, 2014)
The symposium, in partnership with NHGRI, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health focused on how genomics can prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure diseases for individuals, their families, and global populations; and what the next decade holds in terms of genomic advances.

Synthesizing Art and Science Through the Senses: Exploring the Aesthetics of DNA (September 23, 2014)
A panel of artisis, scholars and scientists came together for a fascinating conversation on how arts and popular culture can provide unique insights into the narrative of human history told through our DNA.

DNA Mix in the Museum (June 27, 2014)
The Natural History Museum's exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life's Code provideed the inspiration and the setting for an event that mixed socializing and science to create a party as unique as a strand of your own DNA.

A Spectrum of Perspectives: Native Peoples and Genetic Research (June 23, 2014) 
This symposium was co-hosted by the National Congress of American Indians, the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Museum of the American Indian as part of the Genome: Unlocking Life's Code exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. It demonstrated the range of perspectives in Native communities on genomics and highlight key topics for ongoing community conversation. 

Q?rius Presentation: His and Hers Science: Why Sex Matters in Biology and Health (May 31, 2014)
"Is it a girl or a boy?" everyone asks an expecting mother. That's because we know the sexes are different. But did you know that scientists are studying female and male animals - even his and hers versions of cells - to understand why sex matters in biology and for our health? Dr. Janine Clayton, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women's Health, explored the fascinating world of his and hers science, from petals to peacocks to people!

Q?rius Presentation: What Exactly is the Human Genome? (April 12, 2014)
A decade ago, scientists announced that they had completed the Human Genome Project. But, what exactly is a genome and how is it important to your health? Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, explored the science of genomics and turning our discoveries into health.

The Drama of DNA: Genomics on Stage (April 10, 2014)
Four playwrights examined how they transformed some fascinating and complex topics rooted in genetics into compelling theater. Staged readings of scenes from the authors' plays complemented the discussion.

Finding our Inner Neanderthal: Evolutionary Geneticist Svante Pääbo's DNA Quest (March 25, 2014)
Can the DNA of extinct humans provide a clue to our origins? Noted researcher Svante Pääbo discussed a groundbreaking investigation that led to new genetic and geographic connections between Homo sapiens and our ancient ancestors.

Q?rius Presentation: The Dog Genome: Shedding Light on Human Disease (March 15, 2014)
Dogs have been called a person's best friend, but they also can tell us a lot about human disease. Dr. Elaine Ostrander discussed how her lab at the National Human Genome Research Institute studies the genes of canines (dogs) in order to better understand human diseases, such as cancer.

Q?rius Presentation: Know Your Family History - Improve Your Health (February 8, 2014)
A demonstration of how your ancestry, family culture, and lifestyle choices can influence your future health. Learn how to use one of the most powerful genetic tools, your family health history, to identify specific ways to stay healthy. Let us dispel common myths about genetics and inheritance, and learn how to recognize what information matters. Leave knowing how to get the information, services, and resource tools you need to assess your risks and take charge of your health.

Is Genetic Information Different? (February 6, 2014)
New and often-complex ethical and medical questions have emerged as genetic testing becomes more widespread. Two debaters with extensive experience in genetics and genomics - Robert C. Green and Susan M. Wolf - addressed the issues in a lively event in which the audience plays a key role. NHGRI Director Eric Green moderated.

Genomics, Hollywood Style (January 29, 2014)
Scientific breakthroughs in genomics have been featured prominently in popular television shows and movies such as CSI, Jurassic Park, and Gattaca, just to name a few. A genome expert explored the difference between fact and Hollywood fiction in this entertaining program.  Clips from various films and TV programs were followed by explanations of the "real" science behind the make-believe.

Real-Life Genome Stories (November 21, 2013)
Doris Zallen facilitated conversations among small discussion groups using genome sequencing and its expression in real-world scenarios that revolve around health and ancestry. Dr. Zallen is a professor in the Department of Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is the author of Does It Run in the Family: A Consumer's Guide to DNA Testing for Genetic Disorders and To Test or Not to Test: A Guide to Genetic Screening and Risk.

The Genomic Journey: Searching for Your Roots (September 12, 2013)
This program, presented in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), provided an opportunity to see and discuss how genetic testing is used to analyze and understand an individual's ancestral history. The event featured Henry Louis Gates Jr., who revealed the ancestry of Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the NMAAHC and Gwen Ifill, managing editor and moderator of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for PBS's NewsHour.  After the ancestral reveal, a panel discussed the promise and limitations of genomic research and ancestral inference genetic testing.

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Last Updated: October 20, 2014