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Future Biological Life: Life Goes On 17 - 19 January 2019


Future Biological Life: Life Goes On
19 January

IMPAKT Center for Media Culture

Day pass: €12, buy it here

15:30 Panel: Human and Non-Human Life

This panel considers the theme of future life from a biological perspective. What is the role of humanity in climate change? (Are we the meteorite or the dinosaurs?) Do bacteria rule the world? What will the impact of synthetic biology be? Will a new pandemic come and wipe out human life? How will life on Earth co-evolve with new technologies and what will the ethical implications be? We will look at the roles of artists and scientists in engaging the public, influencing behaviour and helping us to understand our place in the ecosystem with a focus on BioArt and media art.

Speakers: Anna Dumitriu (Chair), Martijntje Smits, Professor Freek Hoebeek, Chris Bisson


Ticket: €8, buy it here

17:15 Premiere: A Demonstration of BioComputation Robots by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

The “BioComputation Robots” explore new medical research into the way blue light can be used to control epileptic absence seizures by resetting genetically modified photosensitive brain cells. Computational neuroscientists study the data about how neurones in the brain fire in order to calculate the optimum moment to apply light and reset the cells. But in Anna Dumitriu and Alex May’s mouse-like robots it’s a manual activity, you have to take care of the robots and watch for signs a ‘seizure’ then shine the light as soon as they collapse to keep them moving. The aim is to engage in a playful activity in order to learn about the science. The artwork is made in collaboration with Professor Volker Steuber Associate Dean (Research) in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire as well as Head of the Biocomputation Research Group, and Professor Freek Hoebeek at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht and the aim their research is to provide future healthcare treatments for patients with absence seizures and significantly reduce any risk of brain damage.

This event is free of charge!

19:00 Keynote: professor John Paul (Brighton and Sussex Medical School)

Professor John Paul was Lead Public Health Microbiologist for South East England between 2009 and 2018. He is a renowned expert in infectious diseases and is currently focussing on writing a new book on the natural history of bacteria. After graduating in medicine from Birmingham, he trained as a medical microbiologist in Oxford. From 1991-1993 he was Microbiologist at the Wellcome Trust/KEMRI HIV Research Project in Nairobi, Kenya, investigating bacterial infections in AIDS patients. Not content with the limits imposed by medical microbiology, Professor Paul became a ‘bacteria tourist’ and has travelled extensively to experience the extremely diverse world of environmental bacteria. He is also an entomologist. He joined the Modernising Medical Microbiology (MMM) research consortium in 2009, a collaboration between Oxford University and Public Health England. MMM’s mission was to use the whole genome sequences (WGS) of microbes to develop tools for clinical diagnosis and to detect outbreaks and track transmission. Professor Paul took a special interest in using WGS to investigate gonorrhoea, Staphylococcus aureus and tuberculosis. He has collaborated with the BioArtist Anna Dumitriu since 2004 and this has resulted in numerous artworks and exhibitions at venues including the Science Museum London, The Picasso Museum Barcelona and the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. In 2017 he was awarded the title of Honorary Clinical Professor by Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

Ticket: €8, buy it here

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IMPAKT Event: Future Life – Conference

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