Whitehead Institute hosts a number of seminars, lecture series and other events. View our monthly calendar here.

Upcoming Events
Sldie advertising webinar by Lindsey Backman: How Oxygen-intolerant Microbes Navigate an Oxygen-filled World

Despite living in an oxygen-filled world, oxygen-intolerant bacteria are abundant within us and around us: in the human microbiome, the soil, and marine environments. Whitehead Fellow Lindsey Backman will discuss her lab’s mission to determine molecular tactics that enable bacteria to cope with varying levels of oxygen and oxidative stress. And she'll explain how studying these protective mechanisms could lead to the design of new antibiotics and effective methods of engineering probiotics.

Past Events
Slide advertising celebration of the David Baltimore Chair in Biomedical Research

Please join us on Sept 22 as we honor Biologist, Nobelist, and California Institute of Technology President Emeritus David Baltimore, Founding Director of Whitehead, and as we recognize Mary Gehring, Whitehead Member and Inaugural Incumbent of the David Baltimore Chair in Biomedical Research.

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In this webinar, Whitehead Member Mary Gehring will explore epigenetic mechanisms of information transfer from one generation of plants to the next. She will focus on the role of dna methylation and demethylation in plant growth and development. And she'll discuss the prospects for epigenetic engineering of heartier plants -- which will be key to feeding a growing global population despite climate change's negative effects on agricultural yields.

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Vicki Sato, PhD, is a biologist, immunologist, and biotechnology executive with decades of experience leading teams in drug research and development. Molecules and therapeutics developed under her leadership have become critical treatments for HIV, cystic fibrosis, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, and Hepatitis C.

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In this webinar, Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel will explore how microRNAs function and their role in health and disease. He'll consider questions such as: How are microRNAs created and how have they evolved? How do microRNAs bind to – and repress the function of – messenger RNA sequences (mRNA). And, what role does mRNA-repression play in normal development and in disease?

Event ad: "Advancing Science Through Technology and Collaboration"

A thought-provoking discussion between Whitehead Institute Director and President Ruth Lehmann and Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, The Rockefeller University.

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Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann and award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer discuss why broad science literacy is important, especially in the face of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Sex Matters poster with David Page

David Page discusses differences between XX and XY cells across the body, likely contributing to differences between males and females in the incidence, severity, and progression of diseases that collectively affect all organ systems.

Poster for upcoming Director's Dialogue, headshot of Ruth Lehmann and Paula Johnson and

Ruth Lehmann and Wellesley College President Paula Johnson discuss how to improve healthcare for women and increase opportunities for women as leaders in biomedicine and higher education.

Sebastian Lourido discusses the biology of Toxoplasma

Whitehead Institute Member Sebastian Lourido discusses his lab's latest findings on how parasites establish long-lived chronic infections in their hosts.

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A conversation between Ruth Lehmann, Director, Whitehead Institute, and scientist and inventor, Robert Langer, MIT Institute Professor, on how chemical and biological engineering will impact human health.


An interactive discussion with Dr. Jeremy Yoder, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at California State University, Northridge

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We continue the Institute’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Seminar Series with Sandra Yamate, CEO of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. 

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In this talk, Rudolf Jaenisch will summarize the stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection and highlight some puzzling observations.

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This webinar explains some of the non-genomic mechanisms for the transfer of maternal information to the next generation — and how that information uniquely shapes inheritance.

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Whitehead Institute Members Siniša Hrvatin and Sebastian Lourido discuss the mysteries of animal hibernation.

Cover slide featuring Ruth Lehmann and Jennifer Doudna

Join Ruth Lehmann, Director, Whitehead Institute as she speaks with Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley professor and Nobel Laureate, about her role in the development of CRISPR-Cas9. They will discuss the potential applications of this world-changing genetic technology, the societal and ethical implications of gene editing as well as current research projects, collaborations, and new advances in biology.


The Institute’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Seminar Series continues with Dr. Matthew Clair, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and (by courtesy) the Law School at  Stanford University.Dr. Clair’s talk, titled “Recognizing and Responding to Racism: Lessons for Health and Medicine," explores social inequities in medicine.

Slide featuring Ruth Lehmann and Jill Shah

Join Ruth Lehmann, Director, Whitehead Institute, and Jill Shah, President, Shah Family Foundation, as they discuss philanthropy as a catalyst for government innovation in the areas of nutrition, education, and economic support.

Cover slide featuring Tobi Oni and Bob Weinberg

This webinar from November 30, 2021, featuring Whitehead Institute Member Robert Weinberg and moderated why Whitehead Valhalla Fellow Tobiloba Oni, focuses on the challenging question: How do cancer cells arising in one tissue learn to adapt and proliferate in tissues to which they have spread through metastasis?

Cover slide featuring Ruth Lehmann and Kevin Churchwell

A conversation featuring Ruth Lehmann and Kevin B. Churchwell, MD, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the Whitehead Institute Board of Directors. 

Cover slide featuring Linda Henry, ruth Lehmann and Rick Berke

Whitehead Institute director Ruth Lehmann spoke virtually on October 19, 2021 with Linda Henry, CEO, Boston Globe Media Partners, and Rick Berke, Co-Founder & Executive Editor, STAT, on the importance of accurate science communication.

Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston

We continue the Institute’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion seminar series with Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston. 

Cover slide featuring Olivia Corradin and Rick Young

Whitehead Institute Member Olivia Corradin and her lab are studying the genetics underlying opioid overdose. In this webinar, she describes the changes they have identified in the brain and how these changes converge on genes critical to the disorder. 

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In this interactive talk, Dr. Bettye Kearse explores the history and significance of Juneteenth through the lens of one family. 

Cover slide featuring Tobi Oni and Olivia Corradin

In this webinar, Whitehead Fellow Tobi Oni outlines the general principles of anti-tumor immune responses and discusses his lab's strategies to unleash an immune attack against pancreatic cancer.

Director's Dialogues logo on a slide with photos of Ruth Lehmann, Mary Gehring, Jonathan Weissman, and Jing-ke Weng.

The challenges presented by climate change are wide-ranging — and so must be science's response. In this Director’s Dialogue, which took place on May 4, 2021, three Whitehead Institute scientists, Jing-Ke Weng, Mary Gehring and Jonathan Weissman, speak with Institute Director Ruth Lehmann about exciting opportunities for leveraging fundamental biological research to create biotechnologies that address some of climate change's vexing effects.

Cover slide featuring Yukiko Yamashita and Ankur Jain

In this webinar, which took place April 8, 2021, Whitehead Institute Member Yukiko Yamashita highlights ways in which fundamental research brings novel biological processes to light, and introduces her lab’s latest discoveries on the function of satellite DNA, which has long been regarded as “genomic junk.”

Director's Dialogues logo on a slide with photos of Ruth Lehmann and Noubar Afeyan

On March 22, Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann spoke with Moderna chairman and founder and CEO of life sciences venture capital company Flagship Pioneering Noubar Afeyan about the race to create a COVID-19 vaccine, the importance of immigrants in the US, and how to find and foster path-breaking ideas.

Director's Dialogues logo on a slide with photos of Ruth Lehmann and Susan Hockfield

On February 25, 2021, Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann discussed the implications of this new age MIT President Emerita Susan Hockfield, in the first installment of our new series, Director's Dialogues. Hockfield, who was the first life scientist to lead MIT, is the author of the 2019 book, “The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution.”

Cover slide featuring Silvi Rouskin, Kipp Weiskopf and Pulin Li

In this presentation and discussion moderated by Whitehead Institute Member Pulin Li, hear what Whitehead Fellows Silvia Rouskin and Kipp Weiskopf are learning about SARS-CoV-2 — and how their research may aid in the fight against dangerous coronaviruses, now and well into the future.

Opening slide featuring photos of both Ruth Lehmann and Sangeeta Bhatia

In this talk from May 27, 2021, Whitehead Institute Director Ruth Lehmann talks to biomedical researcher, MIT professor, and biotech entrepreneur Sangeeta Bhatia. Bhatia leverages ‘tiny technologies’ of miniaturization to yield inventions such as human microlivers that model human drug metabolism and liver disease, as well as responsive nanoparticles and nanoporous materials that can be engineered to diagnose, study, and treat a variety of diseases, including cancer.