June 23, 2017
Colloquium Speaker: Dean Hamer
Dean Hamer is a molecular biologist, 35 year veteran of the National Institutes of Health, New York Times book-of-the-year author, and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. His research has ranged from the role of genetics in human sexual orientation to the molecular biology of gene regulation to bioengineered HIV preventatives. He is especially interested in communicating complex ideas about science and society to diverse audiences.
The origins and underlying sources of variation in human sexuality and gender identity are fascinating scientific questions, but research has been slowed by the political, social and moral qualms that continue to accompany these topics. I'll talk about my experiences both as a scientist who happens to be gay, and as a queer who happens to have a PhD in biochemistry. Topics will include an update on the molecular genetics of sexual orientation, the effects of the scientific research on public opinion, and a discussion of how to communicate our work to general audiences.