Midsummer Nights' Science 2013

Midsummer Nights' Science is an annual lecture series that explores key advances in genomics and medicine. This lecture series is held each summer, and is free and open to the general public. Midsummer Nights' Science at the Broad Institute takes place at 7 Cambridge Center, in Kendall Square in Cambridge.

2013 Lecture Schedule:

Wednesday, July 10, 6-7pm
The road to vital therapy [ video ]
Stuart Schreiber, Jay Bradner, Aly Shamji, Mike Foley, and Brian Hubbard


Insights from human genomes reveal hints to basic questions about our origins and evolutionary history. But can this focus on human biology provide guideposts to revolutionary therapies? Leaders from the Broad’s Center for the Science of Therapeutics (CSofT) will discuss the institute’s current efforts and future aspirations for therapeutics research. The panel will describe "chemistry-enabled, patient-based drug discovery" and will lead an interactive discussion on how we might mitigate suffering from disease in the future.

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Wednesday, July 17, 6-7pm
Exploring the genome’s "dark matter":
What the frontiers of genomic research are revealing about cancer [ video ]
Levi Garraway


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, accounting for more than 9,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Finding its biological underpinnings – the triggers that allow cancer cells to divide indefinitely – is essential to understanding the disease and conceiving of potential treatments. Levi Garraway will discuss his recent work on the genes involved in melanoma growth, and will talk more generally about how genomic research is helping to reveal some of cancer’s long-held secrets.

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Wednesday, July 24, 6-7pm
Unweaving the circuitry of human disease [ video ] [ slides ]
Manolis Kellis


Countless regions of the human genome have been mapped by genetic studies in recent years. Manolis Kellis will discuss these efforts to build high-resolution activity maps of gene and regulatory regions across hundreds of cell types. These maps are bringing the genome to life, revealing possible culprits in human disease, and revealing the circuitry likely responsible when the genome’s regulatory system goes wrong. Understanding these mechanisms is essential to the development of effective therapeutics.

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Wednesday, July 31, 6-7pm
The coelacanth, its evolution, and how fish first came onto land. [ video ]
Jessica Alföldi


The African coelacanth, whose genome was recently sequenced, is a highly unusual fish that closely resembles the fossils of its 300-million-year-old ancestors. Scientists have debated for decades about whether it truly is a slow-evolving fish, and how closely related it is to our own ancestor – the fish that first came up onto land. Jessica Alföldi will discuss the history of the enigmatic coelacanth and what its genome has taught us about our own evolution.

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