Co-sponsored by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
Saturday, December 1, 2007

National Association of Biology Teachers Conference, Atlanta, GA

Presentations and Teaching Resources Now Available Online!

Please note that author's permission are required to reuse presentations.


AIBS, in conjunction with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), will host the fourth annual evolution symposium at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual conference. The theme for the 2007 symposium is Evolution: Applications in Human Health and Populations. Speakers will provide current information about the role evolution plays in disease, medicine, human health, and the ethical questions surrounding these issues.

In addition to the seven presentations, NESCent will provide an instructional CD-ROM (being developed specifically for this symposium) which will contain teaching resources, curricular materials, video and audio clips, and other useful tools for your classroom.

Symposium Schedule and Program

December 1, 2007

8:30 a.m.

Dr. Gordon Uno, Department Chair and David Ross Boyd Professor, Department of Botany & Microbiology, University of Oklahoma

8:45 a.m.

Genomic Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Health and Disease

Dr. Gregory Wray, Director Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University
Dr. Wray has a long-standing interest in the evolution of developmental mechanisms. Through his research, he has addressed: the evolution of life history modes and larvae in echinoderms, the evolution of embryonic patterning mechanisms in metazoans, the timing of the metazoan radiation, and the role of regulatory gene expression in testing hypotheses of anatomical homology. His current projects focus on the evolution of developmental gene networks and mechanisms of transcriptional regulation. These projects utilize a variety of approaches and organisms to ask questions about the role that developmental processes play in the evolution of the genotype-phenotype relationship.

9:30 a.m.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign: Interpreting Evidence for Recent Natural Selection on the Human Genome

Dr. Carlos Bustamante, Assistant Professor, Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University
Dr. Bustamante's work focuses on developing statistical methods for inference in population and comparative genomics. He is particularly interested in approaches for testing evolutionary hypotheses regarding the importance of natural selection and demographic history in patterning genetic variation. Much of his work deals with development of population genetic theory as well as application of tools to make inference from genome-wide data sets. His recent work with domestic dogs was highlighted in the journal Science.

10:15 a.m.

Break (refreshments provided)

10:30 a.m.

Sex, Drugs and Natural Selection: Evolutionary Perspectives on Antibiotic Resistance
[view slides] (519 KB, MOV)

Dr. Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard University
Dr. Lipsitch's research focuses on population biology and the evolution of populations of infectious agents in response to selection from host immunity (natural and vaccine-induced), antimicrobial agents, and other pressures. A central question in his research is whether widespread use in the human population of conjugate vaccines against a subset of serotypes will result in increased carriage of non-vaccine serotypes ("serotype replacement"), and if so, what the public health consequences will be. He also studies the within-host population dynamics of antimicrobial resistance, the development of improved treatment protocols to reduce the selection for resistant bacteria, and the design of studies to measure the selective effect of treatment on antimicrobial resistance. Recent publications include "The Secret Life of Hospital Bugs: Non-resistant Bacteria Shown to Be Hidden Ally in Fight Against Drug-resistant Strains" in Harvard Focus.

11:15 a.m.

The Race between Bacterial Adaptation and Protection of the Host
[view slides] (716 KB, MOV)

Dr. Sandra Romero-Steiner, Senior Investigator, Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC
Dr. Romero-Steiner has developed numerous methodologies for the measurement of the immune response to lisenced and canditate vaccines to Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae types b and a, and Neisseria meningitidis. She has developed assays for the measurement of functional antibody activity specific for pneumococci and Haemophilus species. She has participated in immunogenicity studies of infants, adults, elderly, splenectomy, HIV-infected, sickle cell, BMT patients and Native Alaskans to evaluate the immune responses to pneumococcal and Hib vaccines.

12:00 p.m.

First Survey a Drawing
Attendees who turn in completed symposium surveys are entered into drawing for books and classroom resources.

12:15 p.m.

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 p.m.

NESCent CD Tour, Kristin Jenkins and Jory Weintraub, NESCent Education and Outreach

1:45 p.m.

The Road to the Viral Super Highway: Emerging Disease in the Time of Globalization
[view slides] (402 KB, MOV)

Dr. George Armelagos, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology and Department Chair, Emory University
Dr. Armelagos is a biological anthropologist whose research studies the interaction of biological and cultural systems within an evolutionary context, particularly focusing on diet and disease in human adaptation. He revolutionized the study of ancient disease in human populations by promoting an epidemiological approach and highlighting the evolutionary and ecological factors that are instrumental to the disease process. Dr. Armelagos has been a central player in the establishment, development and promotion of Bioarchaeology. His current research looks at race and its utility as a concept for understanding biological variation in human populations. Recent publications include Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating with Peter Farb.

2:30 p.m.

The Ethical Implications of Representing Evolution and Interpreting Difference
[view slides] (319 KB, MOV)

Dr. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Senior Research Scholar, The Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University
Dr. Lee is an anthropologist who studies race, ethnicity and culture in science, technology and biomedicine. Her research focuses on the social and scientific meanings of race in human genetic variation research and their implications for the understanding of human differences. Dr. Lee has conducted a study on the social and ethical issues related to the DNA sampling of human populations, as well as policies around the use of racial taxonomies by publicly funded cell repositories. Her current project "Race and Distributive Justice in Pharmacogenomics Research," includes the development of an anthropology of racial justice and focuses particularly on health disparities among populations.

3:15 p.m.

Break (refreshments provided)

3:30 p.m.

Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives
[view slides] (653 KB, MOV)

Dr. David Sloan Wilson, Professor, Departments of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University
Dr. Wilson uses evolutionary theory to study foraging behavior, altruism, and the nature of individual differences, on organisms as diverse as microbes, zooplankton, insects, birds, fish, and humans. He is well-known for his work on multilevel selection, in which the fundamental ingredients of evolution - variation, heritability, and fitness differences - can exist at all levels of the biological hierarchy. Dr. Wilson's newest book, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, is his first written for a general audience and uses evolutionary thinking to examine the human and natural worlds.

4:15 p.m.

Final Survey Drawing/Closing Remarks Dr. Kathleen Smith, Director NESCent


For more information, contact Susan Musante, AIBS Senior Education Program Associate at or 703-674-2500 x311.

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