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EEB Department Seminar via Zoom


Noah Whiteman

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor
​University of California, Berkeley
Department of Integrative Biology

Friday, May 22
Discussion: 9:00  – 10:00 AM
Seminar: 3:00 – 4:00 PM

Dear EEB Department Members,

This week Noah Whiteman from UC Berkeley (http://www.noahwhiteman.org/) will be our seminar speaker. Noah studies the functional genomics of species interactions.  He will give a seminar from 3-4 pm on Friday, May 22nd, and also lead a discussion from 9-10 am.  Details on each are below, please contact Kailen (mooneyk@uci.edu) with questions. Note that the Zoom meetings include passwords.


Time: 3-4 Friday.

Title: The evolution of novelty by small steps and giant leaps: A tale of two toxins

Abstract: Evolutionary biology finds itself in a golden age. The genomics revolution and new genome editing technology are providing answers to central questions in evolution that were out of reach even a few years ago. This profusion of information is difficult, at first blush, to integrate with existing evolutionary theory. On the one hand, the Modern Synthesis posits that adaptation proceeds through small, gradual steps up adaptive peaks, a view largely supported by these new data. On the other hand, horizontal gene transfer, hybridization, and symbioses result in large, sudden leaps to previously inaccessible fitness peaks, processes largely missing from the Modern Synthesis. I will share two empirical studies from my laboratory that suggest these seemingly disparate adaptive processes are two sides of the same coin. Diverse insects have co-opted two different toxins—heart poisons from plants and DNAses from bacteria—as putative defenses against their own natural enemies. These remarkable adaptations require both small steps and giant leaps to explain their origin and elaboration.

Zoom info:

Topic: Noah Whiteman Seminar

Time: May 22, 2020 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 920 9846 5813

Password: 287029


Time: 9-10 Friday

Title: Small steps within fields and giant leaps between fields in my own journey as a biologist

Abstract: Noah will discuss his personal experience shifting fields of research between his MS, PhD and Postdoc, including the risks and rewards and how to do it.

Zoom info:

Topic: Noah Whiteman Discussion

Time: May 22, 2020 09:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 959 5626 3308

Password: 807505


May 22, 2020




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