March 16, 2010

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By Kathryn Kopchik

Geneticist Dean Hamer, Ph.D.LEWISBURG, Pa. — Geneticist Dean Hamer will give the talk, "Sex, Science and Society," on Wednesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Rooke Chemistry Auditorium at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is funded by the Arnold L. Putterman Memorial Lectureship series.

As one of America's leading geneticists, Hamer rose to prominence for his discovery of genetic links to sexual orientation, a discovery that revolutionized the understanding of human sexuality.

In his talk, he will address some of the questions raised by his groundbreaking discovery of the first direct link between sexual orientation and genetic makeup research.

NIH genetic research
Hamer, who has worked at the National Institutes of Health for 24 years, is the chief of the section on gene structure and regulation, in the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the National Cancer Institute, where he seeks the genes that guide human behavior.

His research has led to contributions in a variety of areas including recombinant DNA, drug and vaccine production, and gene regulation. He was a co-inventor of animal cell gene transfer, and recently has begun a program on molecular therapeutics for HIV/AIDS. He also has focused on new treatments for HIV, advocating for a scientific approach to the worldwide AIDS epidemic. He holds three patents in the biotechnology area.

Hamer received a bachelor's degree from Trinity College and his doctorate from Harvard Medical School. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and has had his research described in numerous national publications. He is the co-author of two books, The Science of Desire and Living with Our Genes. His most recent book, The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes, was published in 2004. He has been a guest on "Oprah," "Good Morning America" and "Dateline."

For the past nine years, Hamer has studied the role of inheritance in human behavior, personality traits and cancer risk-related behaviors such as cigarette smoking. His previous work on the biology of thrill-seeking, anxiety, anger and addiction has influenced the understanding of human variability and what people can and cannot do to change themselves.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, the Bucknell departments of Biology, Cell Biology/Biochemistry, and Psychology, FLAG&BT, the Women's and Gender Studies Program, and the Office of LGBT Awareness.

Contact: Division of Communications