Science Pub Eugene: What Makes Us Human

Science Pub Eugene: What Makes Us Human event image
JUL 13 | 6-8PM (Early Start Time)

Searching Our DNA For What Makes Us Human

With Kirstin Sterner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon

Doors open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation
This edition of Science Pub will begin at 6pm. We will return to our regular start time of 6:30pm in August.


Anyone who has ever watched a chimpanzee or gorilla has probably been struck by how similar we are to other primates. Yet, there are also big ways in which we differ. We have larger and more complex brains, walk upright, and meet in groups to talk science over beers! It seems reasonable to expect that our DNA holds important clues for what makes us human, but nearly 60 years of research tells us that there are surprisingly few genes that explain our species’ unique biology.


In this talk, University of Oregon molecular anthropologist Kirstin Sterner will discuss how small differences in the DNA of humans and our closest living relatives (chimpanzees, gorillas, other primates) lead to big differences in the way we look and act. These small changes are hard to find but important to understand – not only because they tell us who we are, but because they may also make us uniquely vulnerable to certain diseases.


Kirstin Sterner uses molecular data to study human biology and evolution. Her research lies at the intersection of anthropology and biology. She examines the genetics that underpin distinctly human traits and diseases. She received a Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from New York University (part of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Evolutionary Genomics in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. She is currently an assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon.


Note: This presentation was originally scheduled for January 12 and was cancelled due to inclement weather.


Science Pub Eugene is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone. No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email: