Request Your Tickets for the 2019 Saward Lecture

The 29th Saward Lecture, Featuring Ting (Chao-Ting) Wu, PhD

Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Consortium for Space Genetics, and Director of the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd)

Suddenly, genomics:
The edge of what we know, the ledge on which we stand

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
7:30 p.m.
Newmark Theatre (Map)
Portland, Oregon


About This Year's Lecture

In a mere 100 years, we have gone from wondering what the basis of inheritance might be to pondering the pros and cons of whether to alter our genetic make-up. We have gone from accepting the genetic diseases that have passed faithfully from one generation to the next in our family lineages to contemplating whether or not to eliminate those traits, forever. We have discovered, invented, and surpassed imagination in how we have studied, tinkered with, and dared to use genetic technologies, and now we stand in both awe and apprehension of where we might go in the next 100 years: augmenting food production, eliminating the ravages of parasite-borne diseases such as malaria, reversing aging, storing books and movies in DNA, and bringing back the woolly mammoth. What will be the balance of solutions and dilemmas emerging from the use of genetic information and capabilities to battle disease, mitigate climate change, and promote space travel? These will be the topics and questions of the hour.

About Ting (Chao-Ting) Wu, PhD

Ting Wu is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Consortium for Space Genetics, and Director of the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd). She is the recipient of an NIH Director’s 2012 Pioneer Award for her laboratory’s work on genome organization, homolog pairing, and inheritance, and an NIH Director’s 2016 Transformative Research Award for work on sequence ultraconservation as a strategy for maintaining genome integrity. She is also a co-investigator on a Center of Excellence Award. As part of these efforts, her group has developed a variety of technologies, ranging from strategies that facilitate genome engineering to those that enable high-throughput screening of entire genomes using fluorescent in situ hybridization (Hi-FISH). She and her co-workers also invented the Oligopaints method for in situ visualization of DNA and RNA, including distinguishing maternal from paternal homologs using homolog-specific Oligopaints (HOPs). Most recently, her group has enabled in situ single-molecule super-resolution imaging of the genome via OligoSTORM and OligoDNA-PAINT, which reflect the combination of Oligopaints with the STORM (in collaboration with Xiaowei Zhuang) and DNA-PAINT (in collaboration with Ralf Jungmann and Peng Yin) technologies, respectively.

The Wu laboratory also houses pgEd, a nonprofit program which promotes public awareness and dialogue about genetics and genetic technologies across all communities through Congressional briefings, curricula and trainings for teachers, consultations with the film and television industry and, most recently, partnerships with communities of faith.

Wu received her B.A. from Harvard University in Biology and her Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in Genetics. She briefly spent time at Stanford Medical School before completing her postdoctoral work at the Station for Natural Studies and Yale University. Wu was a fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Department of Molecular Biology from 1987 to 1991, then moved to Harvard Medical School’s main campus as an assistant professor, first in the Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology and then in the Department of Genetics (1993). In 2005, she left the Department of Genetics to become a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She returned to the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School as a full professor in 2007.