Current Visitor

Rewriting the Code of Life with CRISPR – Sam Sternberg

Degenstein Theater
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Sternberg is assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University. His presentation will address how scientists have long sought to unravel the hidden laws of nature and harness their knowledge to manipulate life. The 20th century witnessed the birth of molecular genetics – the field of biology focused on DNA and its role in heredity, genetic variation, and disease – and culminated in completion of the Human Genome Project, which decoded all 3 billion letters of the human genome. But until recently, the ability to go one step beyond reading DNA and rewrite DNA, directly in living organisms, remained elusive. Now, with a revolutionary technology called CRISPR that was discovered in a most unexpected way, we have entered a new era of precision genetic manipulation, in which diseases and cancers could be erased in patients, but so too could heritable genetic changes be engineered in human embryos. What will we choose to do with this awesome power?

About the Program

The Distinguished Visitor Program at Susquehanna University was endowed by George E. ’64 and Margaret Lauver ’66 Harris to support lectures, seminars or residencies by nationally recognized leaders in business, government or education on topics in the public interest. This series brings an accomplished scholar in the sciences to our campus annually for a public address. The public lecture is typically held in the fall of the academic year.

For more information about the lecture, contact Michele Hane at

Past Visitors

  • 2019-20: Jackie Faherty, “Our Cosmic Ballet”
  • 2018-19: Mary Lou Zeeman, dynamical systems and their application to mathematical biology
  • 2017-18: Richard Robinson, nanoparticles
  • 2016-17: Robert S. Pickart, “In Search of Sinking Water: Wintertime Fieldwork in the North Atlantic Ocean”
  • 2015-16: John Rogers, “Electronics for the Human Body”
  • 2014-15: Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D.-“Tiny Conspiracies: Cell-to-Cell Communication in Bacteria”
  • 2013-14: Sonia Kreidenweis, “Clearing the Air: 25 Years of Visibility Observations in US National Parks … And What They Tell Us About Our World”
  • 2012-13: Chris Stringer, “The Origin of Our Species”
  • 2011-12: Kerry Ressler, “Fear and its Inhibition: From Mice to Men”
  • 2010-11: Edward O. Wilson, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth”
  • 2009-10: Tyrone B. Hayes, “From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads & Men”
  • 2008-09: Larry R. Squire-“Conscious and Unconscious Memory Systems of the Mammalian Brain”
  • 2007-08: Tim Flannery, “The Weather Makers”
  • 2006-07: Rita Colwell, “Climate, Infectious Disease and Human Health”
  • 2005-06: Jared Diamond, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”