BioFutures: Cells from Another Self

With Biologist Amy Boddy

Thursday, May 7, 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.

In a mother’s womb, the developing fetus infuses cells into its mother’s body, and they stay there long after the baby is born. Recently, scientists have learned that these cellular remnants—known as microchimerism—have dramatic effects on the mother’s body and health. UC Santa Barbara researcher Amy Boddy will look at microchimeras from an evolutionary perspective, asking “why are they there at all?” Might they manipulate the mother’s body to give more resources to the child? Could they affect her disease risk? Her behavior?

Amy Boddy is a human biologist and evolutionary theorist in the Department of Anthropology and the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies evolution and cancer, comparative oncology, and intragenomic conflict.


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.