Biochemistry symposium addresses science’s new holy grail: Building life from scratch

During this year’s Steenbock Symposium, more than 50 researchers will talk about the key scientific advances that have culminated in our ability to re-engineer cells and create artificial life from scratch. Speakers include four Nobel laureates, as well as recipients of the Lasker Award and the National Medal of Science. This symposium is designed to honor the work and scientific legacy of Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khorana, the biochemist who helped crack the genetic code and then went on to synthesize the first artificial gene while working at the UW-Madison. The symposium, titled “Synthetic Genes to Synthetic Life: On the Exploration and Synthesis of Biological Systems,” runs from July 30–Aug. 2. One session of particular interest to general audiences, titled “Artificial Life and Ethics,” is set for 1-3 p.m. on Aug 1.

All sessions will take place at campus’s Ebling Symposium Center in the Microbial Sciences Building, located at 1550 Linden Drive. Although full registration costs $215, early-bird and student rates are available, and there will be a room set up where interested parties can watch the symposium for free via live video feed, as well as ask questions during question-and-answer exchanges.

Parking is available in Lot 20, located at 1400 University Avenue, and Lot 17, located at 1525 Engineering Drive. Parking is free on weekends and after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

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