Expanding Minds - Allen Institute Virtual Conference on Human Brain Evolution

The Allen Institute is pleased to host a reimagined, virtual Expanding Minds - The Allen Institute Conference on Human Brain Evolution. This meeting will feature the latest insights in human brain evolution, chaired by Chris Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Greenberg, Ph.D., and David Reich, Ph.D., of the Allen Discovery Center for Human Brain Evolution.

The symposium was previously scheduled for April 1-2, 2020 at the Allen Institute in Seattle, WA. In order to accommodate the full lineup of speakers in a virtual format, the symposium will now be presented as a series of virtual events. The kickoff event will be hosted by the Allen Institute as a Zoom Webinar. Future seminars in the Expanding Minds Virtual Series will be hosted by the Allen Discovery Center for Human Brain Evolution. Visit their website to learn more about the series. 

See below for the agenda and speaker information for the Expanding Minds virtual series kick-off to be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

TUESDAY, 1/26/2021
8:30am-12:15pm Pacific Time

This symposium will be held virtually via Zoom webinar. Registered attendees will be sent the link to join in advance of the meeting.


Additional Links

Please contact with any questions. 



Tuesday, January 26, 2021:

8:20-8:30am - Virtual meeting log-in
8:30-8:40am - Kathy Richmond, The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group and Chris Walsh, Allen Discovery Center for Human Brain Evolution, Welcome and introductory remarks
8:40-9:05am - Sarah Tishkoff, University of Pennsylvania, "Human evolution and adaptation in Africa"
9:05-9:25am - Discussion and Q&A with Sarah Tishkoff and David Reich, Harvard Medical School, "Studying and using ancient DNA"
9:25-9:45am - Liran Carmel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Paleo-epigenetics: The use of ancient DNA methylation patterns to study human evolution"
9:45-10:05am - Discussion and Q&A with Liran Carmel and Michael Greenberg, Harvard Medical School, "What are uniquely human features?"
10:05-10:20am - Break
10:20-10:45am - Alex Pollen, University of California, San Francisco, "Establishing Great Ape Organoid Models to Study Genomic Events Contributing to Human Brain Evolution"
10:45-11:05am - Discussion and Q&A with Alex Pollen and Chris Walsh, Harvard Medical School, "Technical gaps in human brain evolution studies"
11:05am-12:05pm - Patricia Churchland, University of California, San Diego, Keynote: "The Neurobiological Platform of Moral Conscience"
12:05-12:15pm - Closing remarks

VIEW Speakers & Talk Info

Symposium Chairs

Christopher A. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.
Bullard Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Division of Genetics and Genomics, Boston Children's Hospital
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Member, Broad Institute

Michael E. Greenberg, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Neurobiology
Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor
Harvard Medical School

David E. Reich, Ph.D.
Professor, Harvard Medical School
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Member, Broad Institute