Biology Capstone Seminar

The Biology Capstone Seminar series was established in 2007 with seed funding from the Faculty of Arts and Science as a Capstone Experience Pilot Project.  This formalized the custom of inviting occasional external speakers to address the Biology undergraduate thesis class (BIOL 537).  Each year the Capstone Seminar is organized by a committee of volunteers from this class.  In consultation with their classmates, other students and faculty members, the committee selects and invites a high profile speaker to address the Biology graduating class around the end of the winter term.  The seminar is advertised widely on campus and is open to the whole Queen’s community.  A reception after the seminar allows the students to interact informally with the speaker.


Past Speakers

Dr. Ken Storey, is Professor, Departments of Biology and Chemistry at Carleton University, and recipient of the Flavelle Medal and Fry Medal. Seminar title: Survival in extreme environments: mammalian torpor and hibernation. (2019)

Dr. Michael Szego, Clinical Ethicist, Centre for Clinical Ethics, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Seminar title: My career path from Biology to bioethics Reflections and some useful advice for students at the start of their careers. (2017)

Dr. Leigh Revers, a Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology and Associate Director of the Master of Biotechnology (MBiotech) Program at the University of Toronto. (2015)

Dr. Jeff Hutchings a professor and renowned biologist. Dr. Hutchings will be giving an inspiring talk regarding the importance of biology and research in our lives. (2014)

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is a high profile advocate for environmental and social justice, and a best-selling author. Title: From Reductionism to Interdependence:  Putting Our World Back Together. (2013)

Bob McDonald, Science journalist and host of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks”. Seminar title: What if everything you know is wrong? (2012)

Dr. Freda Miller, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neurobiology and HHMI International Research Scholar, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto. Seminar title: Neural stem cells: from development to repair. (2011)

Dr. Armand M. Leroi, Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Imperial College London, UK. Seminar title: The soul of the worm (2010)

Dr. Michael Ruse, Lucycle T. Werkmeister Professor, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University. Seminar title: My life and times as an evolutionist. (2008)

Dr. Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering, Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering, University of Toronto. Seminar title:  It's in the numbers: systematic approaches to predicting and CONTROLLING stem cell output.​ (2006)

Stephen Strauss, Globe and Mail science correspondent. Seminar title: What would Biology's Einstein do? (2005)

Jay Ingram, Host of the Daily Planet, Discovery Channel. Seminar title: Communicating science in the popular media (2004)

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I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley