SPENCER WELLS is a geneticist, anthropologist, author and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry.
Dr Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry, and Pandora's Seed.
His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea.
Dr Wells lives in Austin, Texas, where he is Founder and Chairman of The Insitome Institute (the world’s first think tank dedicated to personal genomics), an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas, Visiting Professor at NYU-Abu Dhabi, and co-owner of the iconic Austin blues club Antone’s.
The Human Journey: A Genetic Odyssey
The world is undergoing unprecedented levels of migration, with people from around the globe moving to escape crises or in pursuit of better opportunities. Increasingly, these immigrants find themselves in highly cosmopolitan cities, surrounded by an unprecedented mix of nationalities and ethnicities.
In this keynote, we will discuss current immigration trends in light of the deep history of our species, stretching back over 100,000 years. Using the tools of genetics, we have been able to track the history of human migration around the globe during that time, and I will present details of how we use DNA as a “history book” to reveal our species’ ancient history.
We will discuss the role of consumer genomics in revealing the patterns of past and present human migration, and where we might be headed in the future.
Education in the 21st Century: Keeping It Human in a Digital World
The 21st century has already brought unprecedented changes, shattering long-held preconceptions about friends, families and privacy. As we hurtle further into this disruptive era, educators wonder how they can prepare their students for a future they themselves may find it difficult to envision.
This workshop will present some guidelines for helping our students to navigate the world to come, based on learnings from the past and present.
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