Skip to main content

Grand Seminar

Grand Seminar at Loyola University Maryland 2023

Loyola University Maryland’s academic division of natural and applied sciences will present the 2023 Grand Seminar on Tuesday, November 7 at 6 p.m. in McGuire Hall. The event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Adam Phillippy, Senior Investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Dr. Adam Phillippy is a multi-disciplinary scientist who has devoted his career to reading and understanding genomes. He received his degree in computer science from Loyola University Maryland in 2002, followed by a PhD from the University of Maryland in 2010. He is currently a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where he develops computational methods for analyzing massive genomic datasets. His work has contributed to a wide range of applications, including forensic investigations, outbreak tracing, plant and animal breeding, biodiversity preservation, and the diagnosis of rare genetic diseases. He is best known for his work on completing the human genome from “telomere to telomere” and was named by TIME magazine as one of the most influential people of 2022.


Life's code: the 30-year quest to read the human genome

Adam PhillippyDNA is commonly referred to as the code of life, and the Human Genome Project of the late 1990's was reported to have "cracked the code". However, it is more informative to think of DNA not as a cipher to be cracked but as a programming language to be learned, and in that regard, we are far from done. Each cell is like a tiny computer: reading inputs, executing its genomic code, and producing outputs. Taken as a whole, these individual cells combine to form the extraordinarily complex and emergent biological systems that we often take for granted. In 2022, we finally finished reading the entire human genome, but the quest to understand it has only just begun. With sufficient understanding of these systems, we will gain the ability to write and modify genomic code for the benefit of humanity. We are becoming programmers of our own biology.

About the Grand Seminar

Beginning in 2011, natural and applied sciences hosts a yearly seminar with the goal of engaging Loyola students as well as providing an enlightening and informative event for the greater Loyola community. Watch past Grand Seminar presentations.