Skip to Main Content

Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - The future of genetic codes and BRAIN codes

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

Speaker: George Church, Ph.D. , Harvard Medical School

Dr. Church is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of, which provides the world's only open-access information on human genomic, environmental, and trait data (GET). His 1984 Harvard Ph.D. thesis included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding. These methods led to the first genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. His innovations have contributed to nearly all "next generation" DNA sequencing methods and companies. These innovations plus his lab's work on chip-DNA-synthesis, gene editing, and stem cell engineering resulted in founding additional application-based companies spanning the fields of medical diagnostics and synthetic biology/therapeutics. He has also pioneered new privacy, biosafety, ELSI, environmental, and biosecurity policies. He is director of an IARPA BRAIN Project and the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science. His honors include election to National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He is also a Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science. He has co-authored 425 papers, 95 patent publications, and one book (Regenesis).

NIH Building 10, Masur Auditorium

February 8, 2017 3:00pm