2019 Symposium on Climate Change

November 14, 2019
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School


After all, Earth is in Space:
Genetic innovations to address climate change

2019 Symposium of the Consortium for Space Genetics


November 14, 2019
9 am to 5 pm
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
NRB 350, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur

The 2019 Symposium of the Consortium for Space Genetics
will be dedicated to Earth because, after all, Earth is in Space. 
Its focus will be climate change and the potential of genetic 
technologies to halt or reverse it, ameliorate the consequences
of it, and prepare the living world for the extreme conditions that
will arise because of it. Indeed, many of the leaders who have
spearheaded humanity’s exploration of Space are now diverting
their attention to Earth. Please join us. It will be an important
melding of minds.


Congratulations to our semi-finalists:

Lakshya Bajaj (Kennedy laboratory)
Jacob Daane & Stephen Treaster (Harris laboratory)
Max Heiman, Keith Blackwell, & Monica Colaiacovo (Heiman, Blackwell, and Colaiacovo laboratories)
Carole Hyacinthe & Misty Riddle (Tabin laboratory)
Max Schubert (Church laboratory)


Schedule of presentations for the day:


Registration, coffee, tea, and snacks


9:00 am to 10:40

Opening remarks
Cliff Tabin & Ting Wu

Dava Newman
Becoming interplanetary and accelerating positive change for Spaceship Earth
Former Deputy Administrator of NASA, Obama Administration; Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT 

Joanna Haigh
Climate change: what we can learn from the past and how we might avoid future catastrophe
Atmospheric physicist; Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College, London

Chris Mason
Engineering genomes to sustain planets
Geneticist of the NASA Twin Study; Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College


10:40  to 11:10 am



11:10  to 12:30 pm

Ting Wu
Behind the scenes of the competition

Jacob Daane & Stephen Treaster (Harris laboratory)
Looking to history to understand the genetic foundations for adaptation to climate change

Carole Hyacinthe & Misty Riddle (Tabin laboratory)
Going to extremes: Evolution of metabolism and temperature preference in the blind Mexican cavefish

The ethics, the optics, and the omics
Bruce YanknerModerator


12:30  to 1:30 pm


1:30  to 3:10 pm

Rebecca Henderson
Business and climate change: Cause and cure?
Expert on the intersection of climate change and business; Professor, Harvard Business School

Max Heiman, Keith Blackwell, & Moncia Colaiacovo (Heiman, Blackwell, & Colaiacovo laboratories)
ADVANCEs in climate change: Adaptive Variation in Natural Celegans.

Max Schubert (Church laboratory)
New tools for engineering Synechoccus cyanobacteria

Mike Cahill
Climate change and cinema's fictional futures
Award-winning film director, writer, and producer; Another Earth (2011), I Origins (2014), and the upcoming Bliss (2020)


3:10  to 3:40 pm



3:40  to 5:00 pm

Lakshya Bajaj (Kennedy laboratory)
Liquid-liquid phase separations in Cyanobacterial carbon sequestration

George Church
Carbon sequestration in the ocean and lands of the Artic
Geneticist, biotechnologist, genetic engineer, synthetic biologist; Professor, Harvard Medical School 

Adam Steltzner
Mars 2020, the history of Mars exploration, is Mars Planet B?
Lead engineer, Mars Science Laboratory EDL (Entry, Descent, Landing); Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA