A University of Illinois exhibit that lets visitors study bee brains, interact with a crop robot and watch genome sequencing in action will debut at Chicago’s Field Museum this weekend.
The Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology will present “Explore the World of Genomics” today and Saturday inside Stanley Field Hall, home to the museum’s famous “Sue the T-rex” dinosaur.
The hands-on exhibit is free with basic museum admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days.
Director Gene Robinson said the institute presents “Genome Day” at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum in Champaign every fall and decided to expand its reach this year, the 10th anniversary of the institute.
The Field Museum agreed and also asked the institute to be pat of its “Members Nights” activities this week, he said.
The institute’s tagline is “where science meets society,” Robinson said, “and we’re always looking for creative ways to engage the public.”
The UI institute is one of the first interdisciplinary research institutes of its kind, bringing together scientists from different fields who study genomes, the complete set of genetic material in a call or organism. Their research covers agriculture, human health, the environment and energy use and production.
“The IGB has a very broad research portfolio, and our exhibits will match that breadth,” he said.
Scientists will be on hand to talk about the impact of genomic science on our lives, he said.
Visitors can also:
— Learn how genes affect behavior and health by examining bee brains in 3D alongside an observation hive with live bees.
— See how scientists use computer vision to identify better crops and interact with a “crop-roving robot.”
— Learn about drug discovery and its importance in combating antibiotic resistance.
— Meet the microbial community that lives inside our bodies and learn how scientists are using that to develop new medical treatments.
— See the world’s smallest genome-sequencer read the genome of a never-before sequenced organism, to be published in a scientific journal.