Interdisciplinary conference aims to spark new ideas among WUSTL faculty

Frontiers in Technology and Science conference Sept. 25

A one-day interdisciplinary conference, Washington University Frontiers in Technology and Science, will be held from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in Cupples I, Room 199.

At the conference, assistant and associate professors will present their research in talks pitched for people trained in other disciplines in the sciences, engineering or mathematics.

The aim is not to highlight the speakers’ accomplishments, but instead to focus on areas where input from another discipline might be helpful. The audience is intended to be intellectually curious faculty from around the university who may have some interest in starting an interdisciplinary collaboration, or simply in discussing diverse fields beyond their specialty.

The conference is modeled on the National Academy of Sciences’ highly successful Kavli Frontiers of Science conferences, says Barbara Schaal, PhD, the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of biology in Arts & Sciences.

“It is the first university-sponsored program of this type,” she says. “We hope other universities will follow our lead and sponsor programs that will allow scientists from all disciplines to meet and develop fruitful collaborations.

“It’s probably not by accident,” she says, “that Kavli Frontiers counts among its alumni 159 members of the National Academy of Sciences and eight Nobel Prize winners.”

This year, the WUSTL Frontiers speakers will be:

  • Mark Alford, PhD, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences;
  • Mihail Berezin, PhD, assistant professor of radiology in the School of Medicine;
  • Liviu Mirica, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences;
  • Simine Vazire, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences;
  • Paul Schlesinger, MD, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology in the School of Medicine; and
  • Kilian Weinberger, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The program has been planned by Sophia Hayes, PhD, associate professor of chemistry, and John McCarthy, PhD, professor of mathematics, both in Arts & Sciences.

For more information, contact Hayes at or (314) 935-4624 or McCarthy at or (314) 935-6753.