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The main theme of this study group will be to describe in detail what has been learned about the origin of Homo sapiens and how scientists go about studying it. Our study group will focus on the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes and we will go through the book chapter by chapter. The format is a discussion class. In the first two sessions the SGL will begin with details of the amazing structure and function of DNA in general and mitochondrial DNA in particular. This will be important for following and appreciating the path of discovery we will be discussing. This book was published in 2001 so the SGL will provide updates as we go along and will provide some additional materials distributed by email to expand on the themes.The study group leader is a biologist and immunologist, but not a molecular geneticist. She has found the story Sykes describes most engaging. For those OLLI members with little to no biology background, you are welcome to join the class and feel free to ask questions. Sykes’ book was written for the lay public and was a National Bestseller. Also any OLLI members with expertise in genetics or genomics will be welcome and wonderful additions. Each member of the class will be expected to purchase the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes prior to beginning of class (paperback on $14-18 at a number of different sources as of this writing).
Instructors: Marilyn Halonen & Gerald Fleischner
Marilyn Halonen is currently Professor Emerita of Pharmacology, University of Arizona, and is continuing to carry out research at the University as a volunteer faculty member in the Asthma and Airways Diseases Research Center and the Bio5 Institute. Before retiring in 2010, she taught classes at UA in Immunology and Inflammation, performed research and trained students in research related to immunity, allergy and asthma. She spent one year on sabbatical at NIH. For OLLI, she has led groups discussing "How Your Immune System Works", “The Meaning of Life” and "Dealing with the Aging Brain" and a co-group leader for "Evolution" and "Molecular Biology."Gerald M. Fleischner, MD is a retired physician who spent 40 years teaching, caring for patients, and doing science at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. He received a career scientist award from NIH in 1973 and was extremely fortunate in his early training at Einstein to be in the laboratories of the immunologist-volcanologist Dr. John B. Robbins and the hepatologist Dr. Irwin Arias. An unquenchable curiosity about the life process has him spending much time and effort in studying genomics and evolutionary science and how they intersect the medical literature. He has been an OLLI member for over eleven years and assisted and taught as a SGL in a number of courses involving the biological sciences and medicine.
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