RAC Chats

This series exposes individuals to a wide range of experiences through artistic, creative and scientific expression of the genomic sciences. Come chat with scientific experts, as well as, local and nationally renowned artists.

Registration is FREE! Follow the link and choose which day(s) you will attend: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rac-chats-tickets-47084773826


June 27 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Genome Unlocked: Welcome to Life in the Post-Genomic Era

This initial RAC Chat session will provide an overview of historical milestones in genomics research, consider contemporary genomics research initiatives, and invite discussion about life in the current post-genomic era.

Featuring Kelsey Metzger, D.A.

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July 11 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Genes, hormones and you…individualizing care for women

Join leaders from Mayo Clinic’s women’s health programs to discuss those health issues that are important to you and how they are impacted by the latest genomics research. Learn how “women’s health” is defined, the new advances to improve care throughout a woman’s life, and how you can advocate to receive individualized care.

Featuring Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D. and Virginia M. Miller, Ph.D.

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July 18 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Microbiome: How life’s code really works

The human microbiome is comprised of approximately 100 trillion microbial cells on and in the human body. They help us perform important functions essential for nutrition, immune response, and disease prevention. The intricate ways in which microbes and humans connect are a direct reflection of the central rules of life itself.

Featuring Nicholas Chia, Ph.D.

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July 25 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Harnessing the power of the immune system to fight cancer

This presentation will tell a bit of the story of the origins of cancer immunotherapy (1880’s), our most impressive failures of the 1980’s and 1990’s, our recent success stories, and the view of the future, as seen by us here at Mayo Clinic.

Featuring Svetomir N. Markovic, M.D., Ph.D.

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August 1 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Positive Exposure: Seeing Beyond Diagnosis

This lecture will facilitate experiential opportunities for audiences to see individuals and their families living with genetic, physical, behavioral and intellectual differences as people, not just as subjects. Images and stories will be presented in contrast to assumptions about a person living with a particular genetic condition. The lecture focuses on the hope and real lives of individuals and their families with, or at risk for a genetic disorder, and the importance of seeing and understanding the human side of genetics in medical education and healthcare today. Featuring Rick Giudotti, photographer & director Positive Exposure

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August 8 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Individualized Medicine in the Prenatal Setting

New genetic testing technologies are helping physicians better evaluate’ and understand patients’ reproductive and pregnancy risks.
Expanded carrier screening is a test which evaluates prospective couples for their risk of having a child affected with an autosomal recessive disorder. In order for a child to have a recessive disorder, both parents must be carriers of the disorder. Carriers are asymptomatic, and are often not aware of their carrier status. In the past, couples were screened for a very limited number of disorders based on their family history or ethnicity. Recent improvements in genetic testing technologies now allow for comprehensive screening for over 100 disorders with a single test. Approximately 5% of couples who undergo expanded carrier screening are found to be carriers for the same disorder, and at risk for having an affected child. This information can be used for pregnancy planning and care of an infant affected with a recessive genetic disorder.

A second genetic testing technology used prior to pregnancy is referred to as preimplantation genetic testing or PGT. This technology allows patients who are undergoing in vitro fertilization to test embryos for genetic disorders prior to transfer back to the mother’s uterus. While this may sound like science fiction, it is used relatively routinely in reproductive endocrinology clinics across the world. This technology can help to prevent transmission of a genetic disorder to the next generation.

Another new technology used during pregnancy is referred to as cell-free DNA or non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS). This test utilizes placental DNA found in the mother’s blood to screen the pregnancy for risk of common chromosome problems such as Down syndrome. Cell free DNA screening, which is available at 10 weeks gestational age, can also determine the infant’s sex. The cell free DNA test has a higher detection rate and fewer false positives than traditional screening tests. Information from this test can be used for pregnancy planning.

Sometimes an ultrasound during pregnancy reveals problems. In cases where a more definitive diagnosis cannot be made with traditional genetic testing, whole exome sequencing, another new and exciting genetic testing technology, may be the best next step. Whole exome sequencing evaluates the fetus’s condition and provides a diagnosis in 30 percent of challenging cases.

This talk will introduce these technologies, and explain how the tests can be used for safe family planning and for the care of a baby who is found to have a genetic disorder during pregnancy.

Featuring Myra J. Wick, M.D., Ph.D.


August 15 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Featuring Megan A. Allyse, Ph.D. 

Details will be announced soon!


August 29 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Rare Disease

Featuring Brendan C. Lanpher, M.D. and Patricia Weltin


September 5 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Do these genes make me look fast?

Featuring Matthew J. Ferber, Ph.D. and Teresa M. Kruisselbrink, M.S., LCGC


September 19 | 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Artist Talks

Featuring Eric Anderson, Zoe Cinel, & Shah Noor Shafqat