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Broad plans midsummer science talks

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is planning a series of Tuesday night talks on genetic and genomic research.

The Midsummer Nights' Science series will features Broad scientists discussing recent progress in the field and the impact of such research on human health and society.

The free series, which will run for four weeks beginning July 11, will be held at the Broad Institute's new Kendall Square building at 7 Cambridge Center.

"Our knowledge of the human genome and how it works continues to grow at a truly incredible pace," said Michelle Nhuch, the series organizer and the public communications specialist at the Broad Institute. "Midsummer Nights' Science provides adults in the community with an opportunity to hear about the latest advances in genetics and genomics, to understand their implications, and to interact with some of the scientists leading the research efforts."

Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute, will opens Midsummer Nights' Science on July 11 with an introduction to the human genome -- our complete "book" of DNA --and how scientists are working to decipher its function.

On July 18, Dyann Wirth, a professor of infectious diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health and the co-director of the Broad Institute's Infectious Disease initiative, will describe how scientists are using genome-based approaches to understand and hopefully outsmart human pathogens.

On July 25, Fintan Steele, the director of science education and public communications at the Broad Institute, will discuss the social and ethical considerations -- ranging from genetic privacy to intellectual property -- that are arising from new DNA discoveries.

The seminar series will conclude on Aug. 1 with a presentation by David Altshuler, the director of the Medical and Population Genetics program at the Broad Institute, an associate professor of genetics and medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and an attending physician in the Diabetes Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. He will discuss the new era of genome-based medicine its achievements thus far, its limitations and its future promise.

All talks begin at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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