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The Evolution of Pain Receptors

Prof. Svante Pääbo, Director of the Genetics Department, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

To better understand who we are, where we came from, and what make “makes humans human”, Prof. Pääbo and his colleagues are  creating “miniature brains” genetically engineered to contain Neanderthal DNA.

“Neanderthals are the closest relatives to everyday humans, so if we should define ourselves as a group or a species it is really them that we should compare ourselves to.” – Prof. Svante Pääbo, Director of the genetics department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

These brain organoids are grown with human stem cells, edited to contain “neanderthalized” versions of several genes. The aim is to identify meaningful differences in human neurobiology.

“We’re seeing if we can find basic differences in how nerve cells function that may be a basis for why humans seem to be cognitively so special.”

The Lindahl Lecture

The Lindahl Lecture was founded in 2012 in honor of Dr. Sten LindahlChair Emeritus of the Nobel Committee in Physiology or Medicine, Professor Emeritus at Karolinska Institutet, and the kindest, most amazing man you’ll ever meet.

The Lindahl Lecture honors the importance of mentorship as the foundation of innovation and scientific advancement.

In keeping with its mission, it offers free admission to all students and researchers with an interest in the sciences, scientific innovation and clinical research.

Prior recipients

2018   Prof. Jennifer Doudna
CRISPR-CAS9: The World is Changing as We Change the World

2017   Warren “Dr. Adventure“ Zapol
Life at the Frontier

2016   Dr. Kevin J. Tracey
The Future of Bioelectronic Medicine

2015   Nobel Prize Winner
Dr. Bruce Beutler

2014   Dr. Robert Langer

2013   Dr. Sten Lindahl