In 1990 chemist Glenn Edgar Ullyot endowed a public lecture with the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society. The goal: that this annual lecture would inform the audience of how chemistry, biology, and the sciences in general contribute to the public welfare.
In the years since, esteemed scientists, journalists, government and business leaders, and even Nobel laureates have addressed audiences at this popular lecture. It is presented jointly by the Science History Institute (where the lecture has been held since 1997), the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of the Sciences, and the Philadelphia Section and Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society.
About the 2018 Lecturer: Jennifer A. Doudna
On November 16, 2018, Jennifer Doudna delivered the 29th annual Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia.
As an internationally renowned professor of biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues rocked the research world in 2012 by describing a simple way of editing the DNA of any organism using an RNA-guided protein found in bacteria. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, has opened the floodgates of possibility for human and nonhuman applications of gene editing, including assisting researchers in the fight against HIV, sickle-cell disease, and muscular dystrophy.
Doudna is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also a foreign member of the Royal Society and has received many other honors, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine, and the Japan Prize. She is the coauthor with Sam Sternberg of A Crack in Creation, a personal account of her research and the societal and ethical implications of gene editing.
Doudna earned a BA in biochemistry from Pomona College and a PhD in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard Medical School.
Previous Ullyot Public Affairs Lecturers
The Ullyot Lecture has presented since 1990, jointly with the Institute since 1997. Lecturers that have presented at the Institute are
- Marcia McNutt (2017)
- Sir James Fraser Stoddart (2016)
- Bruce Alberts (2015)
- George Whitesides (2014)
- Joe Palca (2013)
- Paul Anastas (2012)
- Michael Christman (2011)
- Susan Solomon (2010)
- Joseph M. DeSimone (2009)
- Bernard Bigot (2008)
- Shirley M. Tilghman (2007)
- Ralph J. Cicerone (2006)
- Marye Anne Fox (2005)
- Phillip A. Sharp (2004)
- Alfred Bader (2003)
- Jacqueline K. Barton (2002)
- Robert S. Langer (2001)
- Mark S. Wrighton (2000)
- George B. Rathmann (1999)
- Earnest W. Deavenport (1998)
- P. Roy Vagelos (1997)
About the Sponsors
The Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania is composed of a dynamic community of researchers creating and disseminating new knowledge at the forefront of the chemical sciences. As an enabling science, chemistry is at the focal point of every important modern societal challenge. Our faculty and students engage these challenges daily on a local, national, and international scale.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of the Sciences is the home of the chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmaceutical chemistry majors, and the chemistry, biochemistry, and bioinformatics minors. With expertise distributed over all five of chemistry’s primary areas, the faculty engage in diverse, award-winning teaching and research activities that prepare students for such future opportunities as employment in industry, science teaching, and postgraduate training in graduate schools, medical school, and law school.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals, and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. The Philadelphia Section and Delaware Section are cosponsors of the Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture.