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On Bones and Genomes: What Can Science Tell Us About Being Human?

Thu, Apr 25 at 7:00pm
Kent Hall, Room 107
1020 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Zeray AlemsegedUniversity of Chicago

Praveen SethupathyCornell University

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Free and open to the public. Part of the Lumen Christi Institute's "Science and Religion: A Dialogue of Cultures" project generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

Presented by the Veritas Forum at the University of Chicago, the Martin Marty Center, Cana, Cru, the Graduate Christian Fellowship, Holy Trinity Church, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Living Hope Church, the Lumen Christi Institute, the Program on Medicine and Religion, and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science.

Recent advances in science and technology have made great strides in addressing some of our deepest questions about being human. These advances help us to have a better understanding of who we are, where we came from, and what humanity's place in nature might be. But are there limits to what science can tell us about being human? And does religious belief have anything to contribute to answering such questions? Join us for a conversation between two world-class professors as they discuss what makes us human.


Zeray Alemseged is the Donald N. Pritzker Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. His research interests include human evolution and the exploration of the factors that shaped the evolution of humans and extinct ancestral species. Prof. Alemseged undertakes extensive fieldwork and employs cutting-edge imaging techniques to investigate the evolutionary process and mechanisms that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens. He explores both the biological and cultural transformations that occurred over the past 6 millions years since humans diverged from the apes. He has published extensively on these topics and his discovery of the 3.3 million-year-old fossil "Selam" has been featured in National Geographic, Gizmodo, and Science Life.


Praveen Sethupathy is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University, where he directs a research laboratory focused on human genomics and complex diseases. Praveen received his B.A. in Computer Science from Cornell University, his Ph.D. in Genomics and Computational Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and he continued his training in genomics and gene regulation as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Francis S. Collins at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Sethupathy was recently selected by Genome Technology as one of the nation’s top 25 rising young investigators in genomics. He has published nearly fifty articles in scientific journals, including Science, Nature Communications, PNAS, and Genome Biology. He also serves as associate editor of Non-coding RNAs in Endocrinology and as a reviewer for over twenty journals.