Plenary Speakers & Contributors

Keynote Speaker: Professor of Statistical Genetics, University of Oxford

Gil McVean

From Wikipedia: Gilean Alistair Tristram McVean (born 25 February 1973) FRS FMedSci is a professor of statistical genetics at the University of Oxford, director of the Big Data Institute, fellow of Linacre College, Oxford and co-founder and director of Genomics plc. He also co-chaired the 1000 Genomes Project analysis group.

Keynote Speaker: Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich

Hanna Kokko

From Wikipedia: Hanna Kokko is a scientist, working in the field of evolution and ecology. She was a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Helsinki University, Finland, and at the Australian National University as a Professor of Evolutionary Ecology. She is currently Professor in Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Zürich. She has been awarded the 2010 Per Brinck Oikos Award and the British Ecological Society‘s Founder’s Prize. Her move to Australia followed her appointment as an Australian Laureate Fellow. She was also made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2014.

Keynote Speaker: Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago

Neil Shubin

From Wikipedia:

Neil Shubin is an American paleontologistevolutionary biologist and popular science writer. He is the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and Professor on the Committee of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago along with being the Provost of the Field Museum of Natural History. He is best known for his co-discovery of Tiktaalik roseae with Ted Daeschler and Farish Jenkins

Keynote Speakers: Emeritus Professors, Princeton University

Peter & Rosemary Grant

From Wikipedia:

Peter Raymond Grant, FRSFRSC, and Barbara Rosemary Grant, FRSFRSC, are a British couple who are evolutionary biologists at Princeton University. Each currently holds the position of emeritus professor. They are known for their work with Darwin’s finches on Daphne Major, one of the Galápagos Islands. Since 1973, the Grants have spent six months of every year capturing, tagging, and taking blood samples from finches on the island. They have worked to show that natural selection can be seen within a single lifetime, or even within a couple of years. Charles Darwin originally thought that natural selection was a long, drawn out process. The Grants have shown that these changes in populations can happen very quickly.

Chair of Roundtable: Popular Science Writer

Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer is the author of thirteen books about science. His newest book is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. His column Matter appears each week in the New York Times.

Zimmer’s writing has earned a number of awards, including the 2016 Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science. In 2017, he won an Online Journalism Award for his series of articles in which he explored his genome.

A professor adjunct at Yale University, Zimmer is a familiar voice on programs such as Radiolab. He lives in Connecticut with his wife Grace and their children, Charlotte and Veronica. He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.

Public Lecture: Professor of Public Engagement in Science, University of Birmingham

Alice Roberts


Dr Alice Roberts is an academic, writer and broadcaster. She’s interested in the structure of humans, how we function, and our place in the wider environment, making programmes and write books about human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history. She passionately believes that universities are about generating and spreading knowledge to the widest possible audience.

Alice is a medical doctor, and went on to become a university lecturer. She taught human anatomy to students and doctors, and did research into human origins and disease in ancient skeletons – which formed the basis for her PhD. But all the time, Alice felt that it was important to engage with people outside universities, of all ages and backgrounds. She has been Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham since 2012.

Alice made her television debut back in 2001, as a human bone specialist on Channel 4’s Time Team. She went on to present Coast on BBC2, and then to write and present a range of television series for BBC2, including The Incredible Human JourneyOrigins of Us and Ice Age Giants, as well as several Horizon programmes. She has presented five series of the popular Digging for Britain serieslooking at the freshest, most exciting archaeology in the UK. We’ll be returning with Series 6 later this year.

Alice has also written seven popular science books. My book The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2015.

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