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Biologist's Talk to Kick Off New Lecture Series

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Evolutionary biologist H. Allen Orr, Ph.D., will give the first talk in a new interdepartmental lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

Orr will speak about his research at 4 p.m. Friday, March 10, in the Case Methods Room at the Medical Center. Subsequent lectures will be held at the same time on the second Friday of each month in the Case Methods Room.

The new seminar series, dubbed the “Second Friday Science Social,” is geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well. After each seminar, light refreshments will be available while faculty and staff mingle, discuss the presentation, and update each other about research and other developments throughout the University. More information is available at

“We want a forum that makes it easy for everybody to hear about the cool science that is going on in the various departments throughout the Medical Center and River Campus, and at the same time provide an opportunity to get together with colleagues, post-docs, and students in a relaxed atmosphere,” said Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D., professor of genetics in the Department of Biomedical Genetics and one of the series’ organizers.

Orr, a professor in the Department of Biology, is an evolutionary geneticist who has used fruit flies to explore several areas in the realm of evolutionary biology. Most of his research focuses on the genetics of speciation – how one species branches off to become a separate species – and the genetics of adaptation, the evolutionary process by which organisms become best suited to their environments. Orr is credited with re-energizing the field of speciation with analyses of how one species of fruit fly becomes separate from another. He recently authored the book Speciation (with Jerry A. Coyne). He is also a frequent book reviewer and critic and writes regularly for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.

The new seminar series is being organized by Bohmann together with Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for basic research at the Medical Center; Francis Gigliotti, M.D., chief of pediatric infectious diseases; and Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

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