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Deep Look Public Speaker Series

Launched during our 60th anniversary, UC San Diego's School of Biological Sciences invites you to join us for upcoming installments of our Deep Look public speaker series. Each event showcases short, impactful presentations featuring research, current events and discoveries. Also, Deep Conversation events feature intimate conversations with scientists and other leaders on a variety of topics. We look forward to hosting all interested members of the public during our Deep Look series events.

The AI Revolution in Health and Medicine

Noon, Friday, April 12, 2024

Hosted by Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences


  • Christopher Longhurst, MD, System Chief Medical Officer & Chief Digital Officer, UC San Diego Health; Associate Dean & Clinical Professor, UC San Diego School of Medicine
  • Camille Nebeker, EdD, MS, Professor, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science; Director, UC San Diego Research Ethics Program
  • Laurel Riek, PhD, Professor, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, Director, Healthcare Robotics Lab
  • Mark Schultzel, MD, MBA, United Medical Doctors; Director, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Diego; CMO, Modiv Health

As the influence of artificial intelligence expands through our daily lives, questions have emerged about how AI is being integrated in health and medicine. AI is now being implemented inside operating rooms, critical care units for patient evaluation and even within our homes to support those with disabilities. Along with the promise of AI comes ethical and social implications — which are crucial when applied in health care — including the representativeness of datasets used in algorithm training to avoid perpetuating health inequities. On April 12th, join four leading experts and hear their views on how society is navigating the new frontiers of artificial intelligence and the future of heath care.

The AI Revolution

Noon, Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Hosted by Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences


  • Rommie Amaro, Professor, UC San Diego Department of Molecular Biology
  • Gavin Hartigan, Vice President of Research and Development, Analytic Instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Uri Manor, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; Faculty Director, Goeddel Family Technology Sandbox
  • Terry Sejnowski, Professor, UC San Diego Department of Neurobiology and Salk Institute

Artificial intelligence has captured the minds and curiosities of people and industries around the world. From commerce to education to medicine, the AI revolution offers promises and pitfalls in virtually every realm of society. Join us on November 15 to hear four perspectives on the future of AI — from futuristic AI-based simulations for developing new medicines and vaccines; to navigating the frontiers of science with mind-boggling image analysis; to unprecedented explorations of how the brain works. You'll also hear from the life sciences industry about how AI is pioneering innovation and new product development.

Inside Our Minds: Adapting to Change and Stress

Noon, Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Hosted by James Nieh, Associate Dean, School of Biological Sciences


  • Andrea Chiba, Professor, Department of Cognitive Science
  • Karen Dobkins, Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Nick Spitzer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Neurobiology

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new era of how we interact and function in society. Our brains and behaviors experienced unprecedented upheavals, forcing us to adapt to new ways of living. In recent years science has made bold advances in understanding how the brain and its wiring manage new situations and stress. Join us on May 17, 2023, as leading experts in cognitive science, neurobiology and psychology present perspectives on the brain and the fascinating ways it adapts to change and stress. Hear about what happens inside the brain during times of stress; how to self-regulate your brain and bodily states; as well as ideas on mindfulness, radical honesty and how to build emotional resilience.

Earth Day 2023: New Science for a Changing World

Noon, Thursday, April 13, 2023

Hosted by Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences


  • Elsa Cleland, Professor, Department of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
  • Shermin de Silva, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
  • Oliver Ryder, Adjunct Professor, Kleberg Endowed Director of Conservation Genetics, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
  • Jonathan Shurin, Professor and Chair, Department of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

Join us for our second Deep Look into Earth Day event. UC San Diego researchers will offer perspectives from a range of scientific disciplines relevant to the planet and its future. How are wildflowers adapting to climate change? How can humans sustainably co-exist with one of the world's largest vertebrates, the Asian elephant? How is modern genetics being used to aid the future of the California Condor? Plus, UC San Diego has launched a new Center for Nature, Science and Society to explore the nexus of climate change, biodiversity and human impacts. All are welcome!

Mental Health: On Campus, In Our Community and Around the World

Noon, Monday, November 28, 2022

Hosted by Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences


  • Savita Bhakta, MD, UC San Diego Interim Medical Director, College Mental Health Program, Associate Clinical Professor, Psychiatry
  • Kristin Brownell, MD, MPH, Family Health Centers of San Diego
  • Bonnie Kaiser, UC San Diego Associate Professor, Anthropology, Global Health Program

As we move into the holidays and the winter season, society continues to grapple with challenges to our mental health and wellbeing, from the lingering uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing war and the struggles of daily living. Long-ignored issues related to mental health have now come to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Join us as we explore the mental health crisis on college campuses, views from underserved communities and international perspectives on mental health.

COVID-19: Adapting to a COVID World

11 a.m., Thursday, December 2, 2021

Hosted by Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences


  • Natasha Martin, UC San Diego Professor of Medicine, Health Sciences
  • Justin Meyer, Associate Professor, Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences
  • Elina Zúñiga, Professor, Section of Molecular Biology, School of Biological Sciences

As the second anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, along with the specter of outbreaks during the winter season, the world continues to grapple with uncertainties of the pandemic. Join UC San Diego experts who will describe how epidemic modeling and data-driven approaches led to the strategies behind UC San Diego's Return to Learn program. Scientists also will discuss the latest research on proteins known as interferons and their promise as anti-viral COVID-19 therapeutics. And finally, hear from evolutionary biologists about what we've learned about disease transmission, changes from the initial Wuhan virus strain and what these variants could mean for the future of this pandemic.

Earth Day 2021: The Changing Climate of Our Natural World

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Host: Kit Pogliano, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences

In recognition of Earth Day, UC San Diego researchers will offer a range of perspectives on how the climate, human activities and other forces interconnect with our natural world. Hear from leading scientists on: renewable materials that are paving the path to a sustainable future; the value of nature reserves as living laboratories; the benefits of immersing yourself in nature to form an “Earth Connection;” and the impacts of rising CO2, temperature and drought on plants. Join us to hear fresh perspectives on understanding and conserving Planet Earth.

Rita Colwell: One Woman’s Personal Journey through Sexism in Science

March 4th, 2021

Host: Kit Pogliano and Kim Prather

Join us for a stimulating International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month conversation with Rita Colwell, the groundbreaking microbiologist and first female director of the National Science Foundation. In a conversation with Dean Kit Pogliano and Professor Kimberly Prather, Colwell will discuss the themes and issues covered in her recently published book, “A Lab of One’s Own—One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science.” The book has been described as a riveting “memoir-manifesto” that describes the entrenched sexism in science, the elaborate detours women have taken to bypass the problem and how to fix the system. Colwell describes the sheer joy a scientist feels when moving toward a breakthrough and the thrill of uncovering a whole new generation of female pioneers. Also considered a science book for the #MeToo era, Colwell offers an astute diagnosis of how to fix the problem of sexism in science—and a celebration of the women pushing back.

COVID and a New World of Innovation

February 25th, 2021

Speakers: Pradeep K. Khosla, Omar Akbari, Rommie Amaro, Dan Kolk

Host: Kit Pogliano

Along with global health and economic devastation, the COVID-19 pandemic has forged an unprecedented path to research and education innovation. Bold scientific advances and cooperation led to a novel vaccine developed in record time, groundbreaking tools for detecting viruses and a pioneering vision for safely educating students. Join us on Feb. 25 as we discuss the trailblazing insights and innovations that led to the broad success of UC San Diego’s Return to Learn program with Chancellor Khosla, along with scientists leading groundbreaking innovations related to detecting and analyzing SARS-CoV-2, as well as the industry and government response to COVID-19.

Social Inequities and Suffering Caused by COVID-19—Reports from the Front Lines

Speakers: Maria Rosario (Happy)Araneta, Jess Mandel, Francesca Torriani

Host: Suresh Subramani

The pain and devastation caused by COVID-19 continues down an uncertain path. Health experts continue to grapple with infections at an alarming rate. Yet, not all communities are impacted the same way. Hear from front-line health and medical experts as they discuss disparities in the clinical impact and outcomes of COVID-19, their first-hand experiences and lessons learned in dealing with the disease. Also, as the economy continues to suffer from the pandemic, hear about scalable and practical solutions for returning to work in a safe environment.

Trust in Science in Uncertain Times

Speakers: Steve Hedrick, Kim Prather, Kim Rubinstein and Sherry Seethaler

Host: Kit Pogliano

The year 2020 has put science in the spotlight as never before. From wearing masks during the pandemic to questions surrounding vaccinations, science has been thrust into the center of our lives with social media, allegations of fake news and political mistrust fanning flames of doubt. In a program co-sponsored by the Research Communications Program, a panel of experts will discuss core issues of science communications, public distrust and authenticity, with a focus on issues intertwining the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jon Beckwith: A History of Scientific and Social Activism and the Teaching of Social Issues in Biology

Speakers: Jon Beckwith

Host: Sonya Neal (intro by Kit Pogliano)

Please join us for an intimate discussion with microbiologist and geneticist Jon Beckwith of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Beckwith is the author of “Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science” and will discuss the history of scientific and social activism and the teaching of social issues in biology. Along with having a successful scientific career, Dr. Jon Beckwith has been one of the scientific community’s most influential champions of social justice and civil liberties. He has openly supported the Black Panther Movement and was among the first in his field to warn the world about the danger of genetic engineering. He has over 50 publications dealing with issues such as discrimination and misuse of behavior genetics. He was a member of the Working Group on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications committee of the Human Genome Project and was an important organizer of the international organization, Science for the People. Since 1983, he has taught a course on Social Issues in Biology at Harvard University, one of the first courses of its kind.

The Biology and Evolution of COVID-19

Speakers: Emily Troemel, Matthew Daugherty, and Justin Meyer

Host: Suresh Subramani

UC San Diego infectious disease researchers provide an overview of the biology and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, cause of COVID-19 disease which is sweeping the globe in a pandemic. They share their expertise in the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions and viral life-cycles and how they relate to this global challenge.

COVID-19: Vaccines, Drugs and the Evolutionary Arms Race

Speakers: Emily Troemel, Matthew Daugherty, and Stephen Hedrick

Host: Suresh Subramani

In the second from the A Deep Look into COVID-19 series, UC San Diego infectious disease researchers provide an overview of the potential for treatments and vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, cause of COVID-19 disease which is sweeping the globe in a pandemic. They share their expertise in the dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 host-pathogen interactions, epidemic and pandemic cycles, and pathways to vaccines to respond to this global challenge.

New Frontiers in Genetics, Genomics and Ethics

March 4, 2020

Speakers: Omar Akbari, Steve Briggs, John Evans and Hannah Grunwald

The field of genetics is exploding with a new world of discovery in which biologists are now regularly creating novel methods to address urgent global crises—from halting malaria to increasing food production. Along with leading science, UC San Diego researchers are addressing critical ethical concerns that are inherently linked with cutting-edge discovery.

The Next Wave of Technology and Innovation

February 5, 2020

Speakers: Stephen Mayfield, Beverly Naigles, Elizabeth Villa and Marty Yanofsky ’78

Innovative technologies and breathtaking discoveries are fundamentally changing the future of biological sciences. From astonishing, never-before-seen visualizations of biological processes to recent breakthroughs in conserving our planet’s precious resources, biological innovations are forging novel paths in health, disease and a sustainable future.

Questions? Please contact Joanna Wallace at