Midsummer Nights' Science 2012

The 2012 Midsummer Night's Science Lecture series has concluded. 

Videos of the 2012 lectures are posted below. Past lectures from previous series can be found in our archive.

Midsummer Nights' Science is an annual lecture series that explores key advances in genomic research. 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. Stay tuned for next year's lecture series in July 2013!

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2012 Lectures

Wednesday, July 11th, 6-7pm
Miniature science: How microfluidics is powering biology [ video ]
Paul Blainey, Ph.D.

Miniaturized lab-on-a-chip methods are being deployed as labor-saving devices in biological research, through the advent of a suite of microfluidics technologies. Microfluidics enables large-scale studies that provide the means to better understand, prevent, and treat human disease. Paul Blainey will discuss the promise of using microfluidics to transform our industrial infrastructure to operate more efficiently, while protecting the natural environment.


Wednesday, July 18th, 6-7pm
Dissecting the brain, one gene at a time [ video ]
Feng Zhang, Ph.D.

Analyzing patterns of gene activity during brain development will surely transform scientists’ understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases. Feng Zhang will discuss the invention of novel technologies for genome engineering, and for manipulating activities of different cell types, including neurons. Current applications of these techniques include molecular investigations of processes as diverse as motor function, the reward system, and sleep.


Wednesday, July 25th, 6-7pm
Regeneration of missing body parts: lessons from flatworms [ video ]
Peter Reddien, Ph.D.

The ability of some animals to regrow missing body parts following injury is one of the great mysteries of biology. Planarians are flatworms that can regenerate new heads, or any other body part, in about a week. Peter Reddien will discuss the fundamentals of planarian regeneration, and new findings that are critical for understanding their dramatic regenerative feats.


Wednesday, August 1st, 6-7pm
Harnessing genomics to decipher fundamental differences [ video ]
Stacey Gabriel, Ph.D.

Since the days of the Human Genome Project, the Broad’s Genomics Platform has harnessed DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies to illuminate similarities and differences in the strings of As, Ts, Gs & Cs found in different cells, organisms, and species. Stacey Gabriel will discuss the implications of using these techniques to compare DNA from cancerous cells to normal cells, from one person to another, and from humans to other animals.


Midsummer Nights’ Science will recount the scientific transformation that began more than a century ago with the seminal studies by the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel — the “father of genetics” — who observed the ways in which physical traits were passed from one pea plant to another. In honor of the scientific field it helped to launch, the pea plant provides the inspiration for the seminar series, which takes its name from one of William Shakespeare’s well-known plays.