BioFutures: Exploring Human Microbes Through Big Data

With Computational Biologist Katherine Pollard

Thursday, March 5, 2020 • 8:00 p.m.

Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Free for Donors and and After Dark members.

Adults Only (18+)

Note: Ticket includes admission to After Dark (6–10 p.m.). Seating for BioFutures is limited and first come, first served.

The majority of cells in your body are not human; they belong to the trillions of microbes living in your stomach, intestines, on your skin, and in dozens of other organs. How do these microbes and their DNA help keep you alive and healthy, and what's their role in disease? Scientists have just scratched the surface, but the way forward lies not in growing bacteria in an incubator, but in using computers to analyze unfathomable volumes of DNA data. Bioinformatics expert Katherine Pollard will reveal what that data is telling us about the organisms within ourselves.

Katherine Pollard, PhD, is Director of the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology, and the director of the Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program at UC San Francisco, as well as an Investigator in the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub.


BioFutures is a six-part series of conversations with leading experts in the field exploring how emerging bioscience technologies are changing our world.

As genetics and biotechnology continually evolve, surprising scenarios are emerging. The DNA editing technology CRISPR, for example, may enable us to fix disease-causing genes in the human body, and it’s brought us the first genetically engineered babies. A sample of our DNA can tell us about our ancestral past, but might also reveal things that we’d rather keep private? How can we make the most of exciting advances, while also defining our ethical boundaries? Join biologists and other experts in conversations about what genetics and other technologies reveals about our past, our selves, and our shared future.