New Horizons in Science

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New Horizons in Science 2009 Speakers

professor and Chief, Division of Biostatistics and Health Services Research

Arlene Ash is a biostatistician at Boston University. Her studies have ranged across such topics as health care delivery, costs, and outcomes; patient safety; and racial and gender differences in disease outcomes. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a past chair of ASA's Subcommittee on Electoral Integrity. She has testified on statistical issues in elections before the state legislature of Massachusetts and in a court case in Florida in 2000.

professor of psychology

David M. Buss is one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology. He is the author of several books, including The Evolution of Desire and The Dangerous Passion. His most recent book is Why Women Have Sex (co-written with Cindy Meston). In his research, Buss studies sexual attraction, mate guarding, sexual deception, sexual competition, relationship breakups and the effects of ovulation on women’s sexuality.

assistant professor

Clegg received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Georgia. Before coming to Dallas, she was in the psychiatry department at the University of Cincinnati.

professor of biochemistry and internal medicine

Harold “Skip” Garner earned his Ph.D. in plasma physics and has conducted research on fusion, artificial intelligence, high-temperature superconductors and stealth technologies. His lab now focuses on computational biology, instrumentation, and genetics and genomics.

Gustave and Louise Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology

Andrea Gore serves on the faculty of the Division of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Texas College of Pharmacy. She is one of a small group of researchers studying the links between the brain and reproduction. The work suggests that new therapies for infertility might depend on a better understanding of this link. (Among her collaborators is Michael Skinner of Washington State University, who spoke at New Horizons at Carnegie Mellon in 2005.)

associate professor of psychology

Sam Gosling has made important contributions to the study of personality in animals (not so long ago, most scientists thought they didn’t have any), and to manifestations of human personality in our environments. He is the author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You (2008).

graduate student in computation and neural systems

As an undergraduate at the University of Alabama, Virgil Griffith was sued for demonstrating the security flaws in multi-use campus ID cards. He moved to Indiana University, where he was hired to teach computer security before being admitted as an undergraduate. He developed Wikiscanner, a tool for identifying organizations that have edited Wikipedia entries, and has worked on Polyworld, a computer-generated example of artificial evolution. He has been a guest at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and is a regular visitor to the Santa Fe Institute.

associate professor, earth and atmospheric sciences

Kevin Gurney is an expert on the mapping of carbon emissions and the links between carbon emissions, climate and the biosphere. He was a contributing author to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

assistant professor of anthropology

John Hawks's studies include trying to make sense of genetic fragments from different populations, and anthropological bone and tooth specimens, to show how humans have evolved during the past 30,000 years. And he attempts to integrate that knowledge with data from archeology and the historical record.

professor of biology

Hans Hofmann is a biologist and a fellow at UT’s Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology. He was one of the first researchers to use cichlid fish to study how the social environment regulates brain and behavior. And he is a pioneer in the use of genomics and systems biology to analyze and understand these processes. He received his PhD in biology from the University of Leipzig.

professor of anthropology

John Kappelman grew up on a family farm in southwestern Idaho. He holds a joint PhD in anthropology and earth and planetary sciences from Harvard and a BS in geology and geophysics from Yale. The primary focus of his research is hominoid evolution and human origins and evolution, with particular emphasis in paleoecology and functional morphology, and stratigraphy and paleomagnetism. He has carried out field work in many parts of African and Asian and currently conducts field projects in Ethiopia and Turkey. He is also active in CT imaging of fossils and in 2008 headed the team that completed the first high-resolution imaging of the fossil Lucy.

He is also active in producing digital educational materials that include,, and

Session: Blue highways
professor of clinical pathology

Cindy Meston, PhD, is a professor of clinical pathology at the University of Texas at Austin, and co-author, with David Buss, of Why Women Have Sex. Meston’s research is concerned primarily with understanding female sexual arousal and female sexual desire, with an eye toward developing treatments for sexually dysfunctional women. She is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.

professor of medicine and epidemiology

In addition to work on drug safety and genetic causis of illness, Psaty, who holds an MD and PhD, has published extensively on conflict of interest in medicine and the design and conduct of clinical trials.

associate professor of biology

In addition to his work on aging, Frank Rosenzweig is studying pathogens commonly found in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis. He also studies directed evolution in yeast, looking particularly at genetic changes related to adaptation and selection.

research fellow, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology

Zack Booth Simpson is an artist, scientist, and entrepreneur. A high-school dropout at 17, he became a top video-game designer and at 23 was named director of technology at the video-game company Origin/Electronic Arts. He later started making interactive art, and his artwork is now in permanent installations in more than 40 museums around the world.  In 2003 he began working with the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he works on projects ranging from chemical kinetics to synthetic biology.  His entrepreneurial efforts include two art-based companies and a web-based bio-informatics company.

professor of psychology and director, Laboratory of the Study of Anxiety Disorders

Michael Telch’s research focuses on the nature and treatment of anxiety disorders. He has published more than 100 research articles and book chapters on anxiety and its disorders. And he has served as a scientific advisor to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Anxiety Disorders Education Program.

associate professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology

John Wallingford has identified some of the “polarity” genes responsible for embryo formation and is now trying to figure out how cells respond to cues from those genes. He takes his trainees out for coffee every day at 3 and encourages the playing of music in the lab. (Recent playlists have included Alejandro Escovedo, Neko Case and the Rolling Stones.)

assistant professor of mechanical engineering, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, and co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator

Michael Webber has published on a wide variety of topics related to energy technology and policy. He is the author of Changing The Way America Thinks About Energy (2009).

Regental professor of physics and director, theory research group

Steven Weinberg holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas, where he is a member of the physics and astronomy departments. He is the author of more than 300 articles on elementary particle physics, and his research has been honored with many awards, including in 1979 the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1991 the National Medal of Science. His books include, for popular readers, The First Three Minutes (1977); Dreams of a Final Theory—The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature (1993) and Facing Up: Science and its Cultural Adversaries (2001). His most recent professional book is Cosmology (2008).

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