Midsummer Nights' Science: Exploring the Genome's "Dark Matter"

Live tweets from the July 17 2013 Midsummer Nights' Science event #broadtalks


  1. The 2013 Midsummer Nights' Science series continued last night with a talk by Levi Garraway, who described how genomic research is helping to reveal some of cancer's long-held secrets. This week, several folks from ScienceOnlineBoston (@sciobeantown) joined Broad Communications staff in the media seats to live tweet the event. Some spirited conversation about Garraway's talk ensued. You can find all of the tweets by following the #broadtalks hashtag. 
  2. Prior to last night's event, we learned that registration for all remaining MSNS events was at capacity. Not surprisingly, the auditorium was packed with people eager to hear about Garraway's research...
  3. ...and enjoy the free AC.
  4. Fortunately, our friends from ScienceOnlineBoston were able to find seats!
  5. One of Garraway's strengths as a speaker is his figurative use of language, such as his borrowing the term "dark matter" from physics for the title of his talk. 
  6. Of course, figurative language can be risky business in the sciences...
  7. Garraway began his talk by discussing the history of cancer research. He pointed to Sidney Farber's using chemical compounds to achieve remission in leukemia as a foundational moment for his own research. (Farber as in "Dana-Farber Cancer Institute," of course, where Garraway has an appointment.)
  8. Farber's breakthrough formed the foundation of modern chemotherapy -- a historic advance in cancer treatment that nonetheless has limitations. Garraway used another apt, though violent, metaphor to describe how oncologists have traditionally approached cancer.
  9. By revealing that different cancers (and different tumors) have different genetic blueprints, genomics has given us new ways to think about cancer.