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NSF BIO Distinguished Lecture Series

April 23, 2021 11:00 AM  to 
April 23, 2021 12:00 PM

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February 26, 2021 11:00 AM  to 
February 26, 2021 12:00 PM

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March 19, 2021 11:00 AM  to 
March 19, 2021 12:00 PM

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May 6, 2021 11:00 AM  to 
May 6, 2021 12:00 PM

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Please join the Directorate for Biological Sciences for the 2021 lecture series. All lectures will be virtual with registration/login details below. Titles and abstracts for lectures later in the year will be provided shortly.


February 26, 2021
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Register for this lecture:

Corrie Moreau, PhD
Martha N. & John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity
Director & Curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection

Cornell University
Sponsored by the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)

Ants, Plants, and Bacteria: Symbiosis as a Driver of Evolution
To fully understand the macroevolutionary factors that have promoted the diversification and persistence of biological diversity varied tools and disciplines must be integrated.  By combining data from several fields including molecular phylogenetics/phylogenomics, comparative genomics, biogeographic range reconstruction, stable isotope analyses, microbial community sequencing, and metagenomics to study the evolutionary history of the insects, we are beginning to understand the drivers of speciation and the interconnectedness of life.  Comparative phylogenetic analysis reveals the interconnectedness of ants and plants and that ants diversified after the rise of the angiosperms.  Comparative genomics has permitted the exploration of the role of symbiosis on genome evolution and behavioral gene evolution demonstrating that Red Queen dynamics are at play in obligate mutualisms.  While studies combining the trophic ecology of the ants and next-generation sequencing of gut-associated bacteria of ants highlight the importance of this microbiome association in the evolution of herbivory.  Microbial contributions to ants are not limited to diet enrichment and we find evidence for their role in cuticle formation.  These multiple lines of evidence are illuminating a more complete picture of ant evolution and providing novel insights into the role that symbiosis plays to promote biological diversity.


March 19, 2021
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Register for this lecture:

Jef Boeke, PhD
Director of the Sol and Judith Bergstein Institute of System Genetics
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
New York University
Sponsored by the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)


April 23, 2021
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Register for this lecture:

Beronda Montgomery, PhD
MSU Foundation Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Michigan State University
Sponsored by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)

From Seeds of Inspiration to a Harvest of Discovery


May 6, 2021
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Register for this lecture:

Gene Robinson, PhD
Director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Swanlund Chair
Professor of Entomology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sponsored by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

The Earth BioGenome Project: Sequencing Life for the Future of Life
Increasing our understanding of Earth's biodiversity, responsibly stewarding its resources, and maximizing our ability to utilize biological information for purposes of biosecurity and the bioeconomy are among the most crucial scientific and societal challenges of this century. These challenges require fundamental new knowledge of the organization, evolution, functions, and inter-specific interactions for the planet's entire suite of organisms. This lecture describes the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), a moonshot for biology that aims to sequence, catalog, and characterize the genomes of all of Earth's eukaryotic biodiversity over a period of 10 years. In addition to discussing the rationale, feasibility, and organization of this global, modular, decentralized project, I will provide an update on some of the projects already underway in several countries outside the US.


More lectures to be scheduled

Meeting Type

Jared Dashoff, 7032924523, email:
       Preferred Contact Method: Email

NSF Related Organizations
Directorate for Biological Sciences