Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650
May 15, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- The origins of the AIDS epidemic, our preparedness for bioterrorism and current ethical issues in human genetic research will be among the topics discussed in the 2002-2003 Collegium da Vinci lecture series sponsored by SMU’s Dedman College.

Collegium da Vinci allows a limited number of guests to meet and hear some of today’s leading scientists in an intimate setting. Dinners and lectures are held on Sunday evenings in the Jones Great Room of SMU’s Meadows Museum. Dinners begin at 6 p.m. followed by lectures at 7:30.

Speakers for the 2002-2003 Collegium da Vinci and their topics are as follows:

Oct. 20, 2002 -- a retrospective on the career of distinguished SMU anthropologist Fred Wendorf. Wendorf is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nov. 24, 2002 -- Chemist John Buynak, founder of SMU’s first commercial venture, AlamX, will discuss his work on disabling bacterial defensive systems.

Feb. 23, 2003 -- Dr. Joseph McCormick, epidemiologist and regional dean of the UT-Houston School of Public Health. McCormick is the researcher who isolated the oldest HIV strain and the author of the 1996 book, Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC. McCormick will discuss the origins of the HIV epidemic in a lecture titled “Our Great Plague.”

March 30, 2003 -- SMU alumnus and UT Southwestern epidemiologist Dr. Robert Haley will discuss the current state of our preparedness for bioterrorism.

April 27, 2003 -- Dr. Fred Grinnell, director of the Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, will discuss current ethical issues in genetic research with humans, especially the legal and moral status of the embryo, in a lecture titled “Genetics Research and the Human Embryo.”

The 2002-2003 Collegium da Vinci series also includes a free public lecture on Sept. 29, 2002. This lecture will feature James Randi, author of the 1995 book, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. Randi will present an entertaining overview demonstrating how science has pursued magic and miracles in the 20th century and into the 21st century in a lecture titled “The Search for the Chimera.”

“Collegium da Vinci is the most stimulating, challenging conversation about science in Dallas,” said Jasper Neel, dean of Dedman College.

Collegium da Vinci limits its series memberships to 30. Tickets for individual lectures also may be purchased. For more information on Collegium da Vinci, call 214-768-2103. Membership in Collegium da Vinci supports science programs in SMU’s Dedman College.