The Smithsonian and the National Institutes of Health are joining the thirstDC lineup for a special-edition event highlighting genomics July 18. Six speakers from two Smithsonian museums, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute will deliver short presentations on a variety of genomic topics from the human microbiome to skin pigmentation to bees, illustrating the enormous effect genomic research has had on our understanding of life’s building blocks.
The special theme for the event complements the opening of Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, the newest exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History and a collaboration between the Smithsonian and NIH. Doors will open at U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St., N.W. at 6 p.m., and at 7 p.m. the experts will take the stage to talk on this rapidly advancing research. In between presentations, guests are encouraged to engage directly with the speakers and each other over cocktails and to the sounds of the house DJ.
Started in 2011, thirstDC focuses on creating and fostering thought leaders both on- and offstage by crafting an informal learning environment where world-renowned experts can socialize, interact with and inspire attendees in a lounge atmosphere. The Smithsonian and thirstDC have collaborated before, selling out each event to record crowds that represent a diverse cross-section of Washington’s hippest nerds.
“The response we get when we participate in this type of social learning event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” said Kelly Carnes, press officer for the National Museum of Natural History. “We see information from these talks shooting across social networks, to the tune of tens of thousands of Facebook profiles and hundreds of thousands of Twitter feeds per event. We couldn’t do it without the creative brainy expertise of the thirstDC team and wonderful partners like NHGRI, so we’re grateful that they’re willing to go on this adventure with us, helping us share critical messages with the masses about our natural world.”
“The marriage of science, art, design and presentation are nerdy values we hold close to our cardiac muscles,” said thirstDC’s creative director and chief nerd, Eric Schulze. “Being able to showcase each of these aspects from all of the Smithsonian and National Institutes of Health experts rocking our stage July 18 is a match made in DNA.”
Smithsonian and National Human Genome Research Institute speakers for the special edition genomics event include:
• Carol Baldwin: curator of fishes, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
• Seán Brady: research entomologist, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
• Keisha Findley: postdoctoral fellow, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health
• William Pavan: senior investigator, National Human Genome Research Institute, Genetic Disease Research Branch
• Anna Savage: postdoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics
• Mallory Warner: project assistant, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
The 4,400-square-foot exhibition, “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” will be on view at the National Museum of Natural History through Sept. 1, 2014. The exhibition uses an interactive environment and educational programs to immerse visitors in genomic science, inspiring a better understanding of ourselves and how we fit into the diversity of life on Earth. The exhibition was supported by its lead sponsor, Life Technologies Foundation; other major sponsors include Johnson & Johnson, Ancestry.com and the Brin Wokcicki Foundation.
For more information about the Smithsonian, visit www.si.edu. For more information about Genome Unlocking Life’s Code, visit http://unlockinglifescode.org/. For more information about thirstDC and to purchase tickets to the event, visit http://thirstdc.com or their Facebook page or Twitter feed: @ThirstDC.