Plan Z: Science for the end of the world

7.00pm to 9.30pm, Thursday 7 December

Conversation Room

This event has already taken place

  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

    Credit: Wikimedia CC 2.0 licence


Exclusive event for Ri Patrons.

Event description

What role does science have to play in our ultimate contingency plans? Nick Goldman will reveal how the European Bioinformatics Institute is preparing for the future by storing information in DNA. Brian Lainoff, lead partnership coordinator at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, will explain how the remote Svalbard Global Seed Bank is built to withstand the challenge of natural or man-made disasters.

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About the speakers

Nick Goldman has a first degree in mathematics and received his PhD in molecular evolution from the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, in 1992. He worked at the Natural History Museum, the MRC-National Institute for Medical Research and the University of Cambridge before joining the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in 2002. He leads a research group devising novel data analysis techniques for molecular evolution, and has published approximately 100 scientific papers.

After graduating from Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee, with a B.A., double majoring in English Literature and Environmental Studies in 2012, Brian Lainoff spent the next five years working at the Crop Trust. An international organization tasked with establishing and maintaining a global system for the conservation of crop diversity, the Crop Trust also co-funds and manages the Svalbard Global Seed Vault located in the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. During his tenure at the Crop Trust, Brian managed communications and partnerships related to the Seed Vault and the Crop Trust's mission to conserve crop diversity. Brian led press campaigns at the Crop Trust including the first withdrawal of seeds from the Seed Vault, which saved a collection of seeds from Syria. Brian also coordinated and co-authored the development of the Global Conservation Strategy for Coffee Genetic Resources. Brian is currently seeking a Masters in Philosophy in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge. 


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