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Current Frontiers in the Integration of Evolution, Development and Genomics held November 2009 at Indiana University


The bi-yearly symposium organized by the Indiana University IGERT student fellows provides an opportunity for trainees to showcase their research, disseminate their results, interact with scientists who integrate across approaches, and get feedback from top researchers in their field.

This year the symposium was hosted by Indiana University on November 13-15, 2009 with the goals of reflecting on advances that have been made in the past decade of genomics and identifying major remaining questions that might be answered by integrating evolutionary, developmental and genomic approaches. Over 50 registrants attended from four universities, including many current and past graduate trainees. Patrick Phillips and Rudy Raff opened and closed the symposium, which featured invited seminars from 12 faculty members from Indiana and other universities.

The speakers represented a diversity of approaches, highlighted different taxa, included a range of junior to senior level faculty and were 25% female. Speakers in attendance were David Baum (Univ Wisconsin Madison), Philip Benfey (Duke Univ), Carlos Bustamante (Stanford Univ), Matthew Hahn (Indiana Univ), Stuart Kim (Stanford Univ), Artyom Kopp (UC Davis), Lisa Nagy (Univ Arizona), Kristi Montooth (Indiana Univ), Howard Ochman (Univ Arizona), Eddy Rubin (JGI, LBNL), Johanna Schmitt (Brown Univ) and Jason Wolf (Univ Bath).

Address Goals

The symposium was characterized by a high student-to-faculty ratio, providing trainees with ample opportunities to meet faculty from different institutions and to get feedback on their research. There was a successful poster session where trainees presented their work on Saturday night, as well as the opportunity for trainees to take speakers out to lunch in small groups on Saturday. The keynote address was a public lecture by PZ Meyers (Univ Minnesota Morris) entitled “Repelled and Fascinated: Coping with the public response to evolution” that was publicized and well attended. Meyers writes a hugely popular blog, Pharyngula, on science and evolution. Not only did Meyers highlight the symposium on his blog, he also did a “live blog” reporting on the Sunday morning session (