UT Austin Biochemistry Professor Touts Low-Cost Technology for Diagnosing Ourselves

Andrew Ellington will describe how new biotechnology will improve health care on a global scale during the final 'Hot Science Cool Talks' lecture of spring 2013.

Event: "Hot Science Cool Talks" lecture featuring Andrew Ellington, professor of biochemistry

When: 7 p.m., Thursday, April 4. A pre-lecture science and community fair will begin at 5:45 p.m.

Where: Student Activity Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Live streaming of the lecture is available.

Additional Information: Why must we visit a doctor to pinpoint the causes behind our illnesses? Our ability to monitor and maintain our health largely relies on interactions with the medical community. This dependence is especially unfortunate in resource-poor settings, where the medical community is already stretched thin, argues Andrew Ellington.

Ellington will describe how low-cost, personalized diagnostics will allow people without medical training to readily detect maladies such as viruses. He will also describe how advances in biotechnology are being made to help us understand our unique physiology and the promise of virtual clinical trials through social networks for improving health care on a global scale.

Ellington's research focuses on solving real-world problems using biotechnology. The Ellington Lab has developed methods for evolving proteins that have novel functions for use in medical applications, and his lab has identified molecules that may be used to block viral replication. His research is unified by the theme of using evolutionary processes as a mechanism to engineer medical breakthroughs at tiny scales. His motto is "What evolves here changes the world."

Presented by the Environmental Science Institute (ESI) at The University of Texas at Austin, the "Hot Science Cool Talks" outreach series grew out of an innovative collaboration among ESI, the College of Natural Science and the Jackson School of Geosciences as a means for leading researchers to share their scientific discoveries with the public, K12 science educators and their students. Now in its 14th year, the series consists of six free public lectures each year, reaching an average annual audience of more than 3,000. Prior to each lecture, attendees are invited to a fair with engaging activities and displays, and educators receive a CD-ROM including PowerPoint presentations used by speakers, plus additional resources that enable them to give their own lesson on a lecture's topic. For those who cannot attend in person, ESI streams lectures live online, and educators and others can host viewing events at their schools or watch at home.

Visit the "Hot Science Cool Talks" outreach series; an archive of past talks is also available.