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Frontiers of Science Lecture Series

The Frontiers of Science lecture series brings eminent scientists from around the world to the University of Utah and the Salt Lake City community. Lectures start at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building, Room 220 (map)

Check this page often for updates on speakers, lectures, and more information!

All Frontiers of Science Lectures are recorded. View them on the College of Science's YouTube Channel.

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Tickets are not required for this event. Seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. Please arrive early.

For more information contact Paige Berg by email at

Next Lecture:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Safeguarding Heritage Sites in the Middle East

Dr. Blythe McCarthy, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Scientist, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research of Freer & Sackler. The Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art 

Damage to archaeological and historic sites is ongoing on a grand scale in the Middle East due to the current conflicts in the region.  Ranging from ISIL’s full-scale destruction of Palmyra to looting of artifacts at archaeological sites, every instance of damage results in lost opportunities to learn about previous cultures.  Loss of cultural heritage also has societal and economic implications as heritage can be used as a peacebuilding tool to bring together those of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and act as a resource for cultural tourism.  World-wide, people are working to do what they can to preserve what remains and discourage further destruction.  Activities underway include efforts to document buildings and sites and their destruction, to carry out protective measures such as sandbagging mosaics for stabilization, and to train Iraqis in conservation techniques to help them take an active role in the preservation and restoration of their heritage.   In this lecture, Blythe McCarthy of the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler will discuss these and other aspects of programs to protect and preserve cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria that she worked on during her recent experience as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of State's Cultural Heritage Center.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Charting New Territory in Neurodegeneration

Ryan J. Watts, PhD
CEO, Denali Therapeutics

Neurodegeneration is one of the largest medical challenges of our time. Recent human genetic and cell biological insights into the causes and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases is offering new territory for the discovery and development of effective medicines. At Denali Therapeutics, Dr. Watts is leading a team of scientists and clinicians focused on inventing disease-modifying therapies to halt neurodegeneration. Denali is elucidating the biological mechanisms of four pathways with direct links to neurodegeneration. Understanding these pathways is leading to the discovery of biomarkers and therapies to treat disease. Nevertheless, a major barrier to developing neurological disease medicines has been the body’s own defense mechanism, known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which has evolved to protect the brain from toxins. In addition to pursing new targets, Denali is engineering medicines to cross the BBB and access disease targets in the brain.

Last Updated: 12/7/17