Saturday 17 August - Main Stage Session 2 - Seating open from 7:15pm
Dr Lee Ann Rollins and Dr Tiffanie Nelson
With MC Laura Kroetsch, In TMAG's Central Gallery
Two back-to-back talks, with three options for viewing:
1. Book a four-person table (see below) for $40/table for guaranteed primo seating.
2. Go in the running to win a free table by filling out a short survey HERE.
3. Just show up. Free seating and standing room is on a first-in basis.
(Note that free seating is limited, and we can't guarantee you'll get a spot.)
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Dr Lee Ann Rollins, UNSW Sydney - 7:35pm

Gene Drive in the Wild: 
Shaping the Genetic Future of Life on Earth

Human-assisted genetic modifications are pervasive in modern life. However, what should we think about releasing self-perpetuating, edited genes into the wild? Recent technology is bringing this possibility closer to reality and already has sparked extensive debate amongst scientists and in the wider community. Because this technology has the potential to affect us all, it is essential that we inform ourselves about “gene drive” -- how it can be controlled, who's interested in using it, who funds it and how it might impact life on earth. In particular, the use of gene drive to control invasive populations is intriguing because it has the potential to eliminate massive threats to biodiversity and human health. Yet it is also crucial that we proceed with caution, using lessons from the past to inform our path forward to avoid creating new problems. This talk raises questions worth considering and urges engagement in the debate about how we will shape the genetic future of life on planet Earth.

About the Speaker:
Dr Lee Ann Rollins is a Scientia Fellow in the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre and the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in the UNSW Faculty of Science. She uses invasive species to investigate mechanisms underlying rapid evolution and is particularly interested in the importance and relative contributions of genetic and epigenetic diversity and change across invasive ranges of species like cane toads and starlings. Through her research, Dr. Rollins aims to improve our understanding of evolution and contribute to innovative solutions for management and control of invasive species, which are a major threat to biodiversity worldwide. Dr. Rollins is keen to engage in public outreach and to support the development of young scientists.

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Dr Tiffanie Nelson, QFAB Bioinformatics - 8:00pm

Human as ecosystem:
Exploring the microbiome of the nether regions

We think of ourselves as humans, but we are more like ecosystems. Our human cells are outnumbered by the microbes that live in and on our bodies - by at least 10 times! These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses and fungi living together on our skin, in our intestines, and on our genitals.


These organisms are important to our health. Many factors from cigarette smoking to the number of sexual partners can influence the microbiome, with effects from causing illness to changing our bodily odours.


In this talk I will highlight some of the factors influencing our microbiomes, with a focus on the vaginal microbiome.



About the Speaker:
Dr Tiff Nelson is a research scientist with experience in the microbiome. Tiff has looked at microbes from Kakadu soils, leopard seal guts and the human vagina to understand their ecology with implications in conservation, diet and health.

Note for those booking a table:
Only one ticket will be issued to the ticketholder for each four-person table. We suggest you arrive together with your party if possible, so that you can all be seated at once. If this is not possible, please make sure everyone in your party knows which name the ticket is under so we can seat them at the correct table. We will ask you to present your ticket (printed or on your mobile device) before we can seat you and your party.

Talks will start promptly at 7:35pm, so please arrive by 7:15pm to allow enough time to be seated and order a drink if you like. 

Your table will be given away if you have not arrived by the start time of the first talk.