The anniversary activities will continue up until mid-November. In the first week of the anniversary year, several interesting and renowned researchers will take the podium. Below is an overview of those activities.
8 March - afternoon - Aula. CRISPR-Cas symposium: from evolution to revolution
CRISPR-Cas is a 21st-century laboratory technique for repairing DNA in order to treat illnesses or make crops resistant to disease. It is precise, fast, and inexpensive, but how far do we want to take this?
- Keynote: On the origin of CRISPR-Cas. Prof. Eugene Koonin, Professor of Evolutionary and Computational Biology, National Center for Biotechnology Information and NIH, US
- Molecular CRISPR-Cas - from RNA to R&D. Prof. John van der Oost, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, WUR
- Genome editing with a pinch of salt. Prof. Niels Geijsen, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, Hubrecht Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Utrecht
- Why we should or should not modify the human germline... Prof. Annelien Bredenoord, Professor of the Ethics of Biomedical Innovation, Utrecht University
8 March - evening - Campus Opening Event
Opening event for 100 years WUR with laser light show.
Art meets science. Ten budding artists will collaborate with twenty scientists on campus for two months.
Renowned scientists from the Netherlands and abroad will give lectures and pique our curiosity about life. How did the first living organisms come about? Can we create new life forms? What can we learn from flying birds, insects making sharp turns, and spinning spiders? Can we change the genetic basis of life? And is that right?
12 March: What is life?
- A living synthetic cell. Keynote by Prof. Wilhelm Huck (Physical Organic Chemistry, Radboud University); Eörs Szatmáry (Theoretical Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) will discuss such questions as “Where does life come from?”, “How does the cell develop itself”, and “How does language come about?”; and Karen Nelson (President J. Craig Venter Institute, US) will talk about how the billions of bacteria in our bodies largely determine our health and how we function. Wageningen researchers Tinka Murk and Mark Zwart will also discuss their fascination with studying “life”.
13 March - Recreating Life & Bio-inspired design symposium
Designers and engineers use nature as a source of inspiration or as the basis for mimicry, such as the flight of a bird or a frog clinging to the trunk of a tree.
- Flying animals and drones (David Lentink, Stanford University and Wageningen alumnus)
- Nimble insects as an inspiration for autonomous flying drones (Guido de Croon, TU Delft and Florian Muijres, WUR)
- Elegant, strong, and lightweight plant structures for futuristic architecture (Prof. Jan Knippers, Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design)
- Robots for our food production (Rick van de Zedde, WUR)
- The diversity of the adhesive mechanisms of climbing animals (David Labonte, Imperial College London)
- How a study of sea worms led to a medically applicable adhesive (Marleen Kamperman and Julian Langowski, both WUR)
- Towards a co-evolutionary relationship with technology (Koert van Mensvoor, artist and philosopher, founder of Next Nature)
14 March: Changing and creating life: Ethical issues
Editing the genome symposium. The scientific and ethical challenges as well as the opportunities associated with modifying the genomes of plants, animals, people, or wild populations. Should we fight illnesses such as malaria or Zika by genetically modifying the mosquitoes that transmit them?
- Basics of CRISPR. John van der Oost, WUR, pioneer in microbiology. He discovered the actor mechanism of the CRISPR system.
- Challenges and opportunities of genome editing in plants. Sjef Smeekens, Molecular Plan Physiology, Utrecht University. He studies the signal function of sugars as a crucial factor for plant growth.
- Editing genomes or livestock: revolution or hype? Martien Groenen, Animal Breeding and Genetics, WUR. He played a prominent role in mapping out the genomes of chickens and pigs.
- Editing the human genome. Annelien Bredenoord, UMC Utrecht. She is Professor of Ethics of Biomedical Innovation and has published articles in various journals on new technologies in genomics.
- Gene drives, with a focus on malaria control. Tony Nolan, molecular biologist at Imperial College London. He focuses on the genetic manipulation of mosquito populations in order to hinder their ability to transmit diseases.
- International lecture - Creating artificial life: The responsibility of the designer. Philip Ball, science journalist, former editor of Nature, and author of “Unnatural: The heretical idea of making people” and Prof. Philip Brey, 4TU Scientific Director and Professor of Philosophy of Technology at Twente University.