Life, Resurrected: Traveling Backwards in Evolutionary Time

Conversation Date: 
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM PT (3:00 PM - 4:30 PM ET)
Title - Life Resurrected

Courtesy of the Solar System Ambassadors.

Betul Kacar is an astrobiologist who is interested in understanding life’s origins, evolution and possible existence elsewhere in the Universe. Only one history of life has been recorded on our planet, but can we reconstruct the contributing metabolic factors of this biological past? Is life a result of a fluke accident? What is the likelihood of life occurring elsewhere in the Universe? To answer these questions, she combines computational and experimental tools and travels backwards in evolutionary time in the laboratory. She follows the evolutionary history of our DNA to unravel how the harsh conditions of our ancient planet shaped life to be the way it is today, and explores the varying roles of chance and necessity in life's evolution.

Speakers:

Betul Kacar  Dr. Betul Kacar is an evolutionary biologist and an astrobiologist interested in understanding the underlying forces of molecular evolution and how Earth’s history may have shaped the way life is today. She engineers microbes with synthetic genes and studies their co-adaptation in the laboratory. Betul cares deeply about science communication and outreach.

Daniella Scalice  Since 2000, Daniella Scalice has been the Education and Communications Lead for the NASA Astrobiology Program. As such she supports astrobiologists to engage in outreach, oversees curriculum development, provides content to media and educational outlets, and delivers programs to educators and students all over the world. In 2005, Daniella developed the NASA and the Navajo Nation project, an ongoing, NASA-funded initiative wherein cultural and scientific knowledge about our origins are brought together into new classroom materials for Navajo teachers and summer field camps for Navajo students. She believes these two ways of knowing the world have more in common than not, but leaves the making of connections between the two up to the learner. Daniella holds a BS in Molecular Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and pursued an MA in Film at Humboldt State University. She currently lives in Annapolis, MD, but her heart is in the Southwest, especially New Mexico where she and her husband have a small farm.

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Recording Files:
Audio MP3 (10.41 MB)
Transcript File:
Transcript PDF (183 KB)
Presentation File:
Presentation PDF (28.47 MB)
Additional Resources:

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