"DNA: Understanding the Code of Life" will be the next World of Science lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.
Dr. Alvaro Hernandez, director of DNA Services at the Biotechnology Center on the University of Illinois campus, will present the topic on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $1 at the door, with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.
What is DNA and why is understanding its structure in animals, plants and bacteria a critical part of our lives? Dr. Hernandez will discuss how small variations in the structure of DNA have implications in disease, medical diagnostics, forensics, improved selection of plants and animals, and the development of new antibiotics. He will also examine the scale of the impact DNA research has on our nation's economy.
A native of Uruguay, Dr. Hernandez earned his PhD at the University of Illinois in the Department of Animal Sciences in 2001. He has been employed by the university since 1996. He is the director of the High-Throughput DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Laboratory, a unit of the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center. The lab's mission is to help unravel genetic information across the large and diverse collection of animals, plants, and microbes that department faculty research.
Following Dr. Hernandez's talk, the planetarium will present the remake of its first-ever show, "Odyssey." Tickets for regular planetarium shows range from $4 to $5 and are available at the door. For a full schedule, visit the planetarium web page
or call 217/351-2446.