Science Pub Hillsboro: Viruses from Hell: A Voyage of Discovery

Science Pub Hillsboro

Viruses from Hell: A Voyage of Discovery

with Ken Stedman, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and founding member of the Center for Life in Extreme Environments at Portland State University

Viruses outnumber all other life forms on planet Earth by at least an order of magnitude, they influence global climate, and are a large part of genomes of all cellular life, including humans. Viruses exist everywhere that we have looked, even in the boiling acid of volcanic hot springs.

In this Science Pub, Ken Stedman will focus on some bizzare and unique viruses that he and his group have discovered in volcanic hot springs from Yellowstone to Kamchatka and beyond. Research on these “Viruses from Hell” allows insight into fundamental issues of virus origins and evolution. Moreover, these viruses have possible applications for cancer therapy, medical imaging, vaccines, and early detection of emerging infectious disease.

Ken Stedman calls himself an “extreme virologist”. He has a Chemical Engineering degree from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from U.C. Berkeley. He was a Marie-Curie and NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. He is an associate professor of Biology at Portland State University and is a founding member of the Center for Life in Extreme Environments at PSU, where he and his lab discover and pursue research viruses from extreme environments. He has discovered new viruses in hot springs in Yellowstone, Italy, Kamchataka, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. He is currently the chair of the NASA virus focus group, was featured in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Documentary, “The Virus Hunters” and is currently working on a documentary film on virus ubiquity and utility called “Edge of Life”.

Science Pub Hillsboro is a monthly event open to anyone aged 21+ (or minor with adult). No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge!

$5.00 suggested cover charge. Tell your friends. We hope to see you there!

Questions for OMSI? E-mail [masked].

Questions about the meetup? ask here ~

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  • Eliane

    Fascinating, I will be up all night on google :)
    thank you for organizing this event
    Great presentation Ken !

    August 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Interesting, he used many words that not being a scientist I had no context for, but still it was informative.

    August 26, 2013

  • Steve H.

    Good. Always great to hear someone who is excited about their field of study.

    August 26, 2013

  • Kris K.

    Too much going on this wk, but sounded interesting. Hopefully next time, cheers.

    August 26, 2013

  • Liz

    Sounds fascinating, but I need to work a graveyard shift later on that night so will miss this meetup. Bummer! But I do look forward to future meetups from this group.

    August 25, 2013

  • Brittney H.


    August 25, 2013

  • Heather

    Yay! Microbiology and epidemiology! Two of my favorite subjects!

    1 · July 9, 2013

  • Michelle S.

    Sounds incredible! Count me in!

    1 · July 9, 2013

59 went

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