Seminar details

12.30pm—1.30pm, Friday 6 May 2016, QBP Auditorium (Building 80), UQ St Lucia campus

Please note: Seating is limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.


Professor John Mattick AO FAA

Executive Director, Garvan Institute of Medical Research


The reformation of molecular biology and evolution

The conceptual frameworks of developmental biology and evolution were framed by the mechanical mindset of the last century, informed more by preconception than evidence.

Despite several shocks that should have given pause for thought, these preconceptions and their associated assumptions have persisted, aided by reductionism.

These include the assumptions that most genetic information is transacted by proteins (therefore introns are junk), that combinatorial control of gene expression can explain vast differences in organismal complexity and brain function (never justified with reference to decision theory), that evolution explores by random mutation, and that the soma cannot transmit information to the germline.

It is high time that molecular biology was liberated from its primitive and ignorant origins. Heresies abound.

Profound insights await concerning human development, evolution and cognition, as well as the optimal structure of integrated complex systems.

The 21st, not the 20th, will be the century of enlightenment in biology and medicine.

Speaker bio

John Mattick is the Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

He spent much of his career at The University of Queensland, where he was Foundation Director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Australian Genome Research Facility, Director of two ARC Special Research Centres, ARC Federation Fellow and NHMRC Australia Fellow.

He was recently named by NHMRC as the one of the all-time high achievers in Australian health and medical research, and by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientific minds.

His honours and awards include the inaugural Gutenberg Professorship of the University of Strasbourg, the Order of Australia and Australian Government Centenary Medal, the International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Medal, the Human Genome Organisation Chen Award for Distinguished Achievement in Human Genetic & Genomic Research, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center Bertner Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cancer Research.

Seminar host

Professor Paul Alewood, IMB Seminar Series Coordinator,

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