Arntzen Grand Challenges Lecture Series

The Arntzen Grand Challenges Lecture series is inspired by Dr. Charles (Charlie) Arntzen, Founding Director of the ASU Biodesign Institute. Dr. Arntzen is internationally recognized for his novel applied research on the development of genetic strategies for using plants to manufacture pharmaceuticals and produce cost-effective vaccines or drugs to save lives around the world, especially in developing nations.

The Biodesign Institute seeks nature-inspired solutions to grand challenges in health, security and sustainability for global impact.


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Upcoming lecture:

The Deep Learning Revolution

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019  |  Marston Exploration Theater  |   5 p.m.

Terry Sejnowski

Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD

Francis Crick Professor, Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Director, Institute for Neural Computation and Professor of Biology, Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of engineering that has traditionally ignored brains, but recent advances in biologically inspired deep learning have dramatically changed AI and made it possible to solve difficult problems in vision, speech planning and natural language. If you talk to Alexa or use Google Translate, you have experienced deep learning in action. This lecture will explore the past, present and future of deep learning. 

The Arntzen Grand Challenges Lecture Series is made possible through a fund that supports an annual visiting scientific leader who will present his or her work of global impact, connect with ASU scientists, share ideas with students and engage with our local community. Give a gift today.


Past lectures:

Programmable Genome Engineering Using CRISPR Technology

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018  |  Marston Exploration Theater  |   4 p.m.

Samuel Sternberg

Samuel Sternberg, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Columbia University

Few discoveries transform a discipline overnight, but scientists today can manipulate cells in ways hardly imaginable before, thanks to a peculiar form of adaptive immunity mediated by Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR). From elegant studies that deciphered how these immune systems function in bacteria, researchers quickly uncovered the technological potential of Cas9, an RNA-guided DNA-cleaving enzyme, for genome engineering. Today, this core capability is being harnessed for a wide variety of ambitious applications, including human therapeutics, agricultural improvement, and the elimination of certain infectious diseases. Sternberg will describe the discovery and basic function of CRISPR technology and highlight recent advances in our understanding of CRISPR biology, which continue to inspire exciting technological innovation.