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100 years Wageningen University & Research

09 March 2018 — 15 March 2018 Wageningen University & Research

First week of the anniversary programme

Activities for 100th anniversary of Wageningen University & Research related to Wisdom & Wonder

On 9 March 2018, Wageningen University & Research will ring in its 100th anniversary. The focus of the WUR100 celebration is Wageningen Wisdom & Wonder. The anniversary programme will start on Thursday 8 March with events such as a CRISPR-Cas symposium and spectacular laser light show on campus in the evening. During the first week of the anniversary year, many interesting researchers will give speeches in Wageningen at a variety of events.

Media representatives are more than welcome to attend the WUR100 events. Contact with the speakers can be arranged (see below).

The anniversary activities will continue up until mid-November. In the first week of the anniversary year, several interesting and renowned researchers will take the podium. Below is an overview of those activities.

8 March - afternoon - Aula. CRISPR-Cas symposium: From evolution to revolution

CRISPR-Cas is a 21st-century laboratory technique for repairing DNA in order to treat illnesses or make crops resistant to disease. It is precise, fast, and inexpensive, but how far do we want to take this?

-      Keynote: On the origin of CRISPR-Cas. Prof. Eugene Koonin, Professor of Evolutionary and Computational Biology, National Center for Biotechnology Information and NIH, US

-      Molecular CRISPR-Cas - from RNA to R&D. Prof. John van der Oost, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, WUR

-      Genome editing with a pinch of salt. Prof. Niels Geijsen, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, Hubrecht Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Utrecht

-      Why we should or should not modify the human germline... Prof. Annelien Bredenoord, Professor of the Ethics of Biomedical Innovation, Utrecht University

8 March - evening - Campus Opening Event for 100 years WUR with laser light show.

9 March - afternoon - Orion: Celebration of the 100th Dies Natalis. Unravelling Life: Wisdom & Wonder

-      Keynote: How life pre-dates biology. Prof. Lee Cronin, Chemistry, Glasgow University. Cronin will examine the inevitability of life emerging from non-living substances and the consequences of that.

-      Joris Sprakel: Visualising the dance of molecules; Nina Fatouros: Sustainable pest management strategies; and Ingrid Boas: Climate refugees on their way towards the disaster area to secure their belongings.

-      Presentation of four honorary doctorates: Katrina Brown (Exeter Univ.) researches the resilience of a society; Carl Folke (Stockholm Univ.) is the founder of concepts such as “ecological footprint”; Eugene Koonin (NCBI and NIH in the US) made fundamental discoveries regarding CRISP; and Fusuo Zhang (China Agricultural University) improved the position of millions (!) of small-scale farmers in China.

10 March - Impulse: Creative Innovation – Art meets science. Ten budding artists will collaborate with twenty scientists on campus for two months.

12-14 March - Wisdom and Wonder Pavilion: Science week - What is Life?

Renowned scientists from the Netherlands and abroad will give lectures and pique our curiosity about life. How did the first living organisms come about? Can we create new life forms? What can we learn from flying birds, insects making sharp turns, and spinning spiders? Can we change the genetic basis of life? And is that right?

12 March:

What is life? A living synthetic cell.

- Keynote by Prof. Wilhelm Huck (Physical Organic Chemistry, Radboud University)

- Eörs Szatmáry (Theoretical Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) will discuss such questions as “Where does life come from?”, “How does the cell develop itself”, and “How does language come about?”

- Karen Nelson (President J. Craig Venter Institute, US) will talk about how the billions of bacteria in our bodies largely determine our health and how we function.

13 March - Recreating Life & Bio-inspired design symposium. Designers and engineers use nature as a source of inspiration or as the basis for mimicry, such as the flight of a bird or a frog clinging to the trunk of a tree.

-      Flying animals and drones (David Lentink, Stanford University and Wageningen alumnus)

-      Nimble insects as an inspiration for autonomous flying drones (Guido de Croon, TU Delft and Florian Muijres, WUR)

-      Elegant, strong, and lightweight plant structures for futuristic architecture (Prof. Jan Knippers, Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design)

-      Robots for our food production (Rick van de Zedde, WUR)

-      The diversity of the adhesive mechanisms of climbing animals (David Labonte, Imperial College London)

-      How a study of sea worms led to a medically applicable adhesive (Marleen Kamperman and Julian Langowski, both WUR)

-      Towards a co-evolutionary relationship with technology (Koert van Mensvoor, artist and philosopher, founder of Next Nature)

14 March: Changing and creating life: Ethical issues

Editing the genome symposium. The scientific and ethical challenges as well as the opportunities associated with modifying the genomes of plants, animals, people, or wild populations. Should we fight illnesses such as malaria or Zika by genetically modifying the mosquitoes that transmit them?

-      Basics of CRISPR. John van der Oost, WUR, pioneer in microbiology. He discovered the actor mechanism of the CRISPR system.

-      Challenges and opportunities of genome editing in plants. Sjef Smeekens, Molecular Plan Physiology, Utrecht University. He studies the signal function of sugars as a crucial factor for plant growth.

-      Editing genomes or livestock: revolution or hype? Martien Groenen, Animal Breeding and Genetics, WUR. He played a prominent role in mapping out the genomes of chickens and pigs.

-      Editing the human genome. Annelien Bredenoord, UMC Utrecht. She is Professor of Ethics of Biomedical Innovation and has published articles in various journals on new technologies in genomics.

-      Gene drives, with a focus on malaria control. Tony Nolan, molecular biologist at Imperial College London. He focuses on the genetic manipulation of mosquito populations in order to hinder their ability to transmit diseases.

-      International lecture - Creating artificial life: The responsibility of the designer. Philip Ball, science journalist, former editor of Nature, and author of “Unnatural: The heretical idea of making people” and Prof. Philip Brey, 4TU Scientific Director and Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Twente University

Attached files

  • Forum Building on Wageningen campus

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