Past Event

Elective Studies Supper Club Vol. 2: Sean Gibbons

Check out the video of this talk, “We Contain Multitudes.”

In partnership with Land & Sea Dept., Illinois Humanities presents the second volume of Elective Studies Supper Club for Illinois artists, featuring a lecture by biophysicist Sean Gibbons of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, a meal by chef Hunter Moore of Parson’s Chicken & Fish, and an opening drink by Land & Sea Dept. Beverage Director Paul McGee.

Vol2_proofThis event is part of our Elective Studies series, created to help artists find inspiration from the world around them. Through a combination of lectures by top-tier experts and meals crafted by the city’s finest chefs, these convenings are designed to unite, inspire, nourish, and connect.

With generous sponsorship by Death’s Door Spirits and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

More on the lecture

“We Contain Multitudes”
Sean Gibbons
University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory

Our bodies are complex ecosystems, much like a coral reef or a tropical rainforest. The human part of us serves as a scaffold for thousands of microbial species. Following millions of years of co-evolution, we have come to rely on our microbial partners to help us digest our food, drive our metabolism, train our immune systems, and so much more. Disruption of our ‘microbiome’ can lead to a range of ailments that we have only recently begun to understand. In this talk, I highlight recent advances in our understanding of the human microbiome and how these developments will define the course of medical research in the 21st century.

Sean Gibbons recently finished his PhD at the University of Chicago. He is a resident associate in the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at Argonne National Laboratory. His research focuses on the ecology and evolution of microbial communities in natural and man-made environments. He will start his postdoctoral work in September at MIT, where he will switch gears to focus on microbial communities residing in the human gut. Sean is from Montana. Before coming to Chicago, he spent a year abroad as a Fulbright Scholar, studying renewable energy in Uppsala, Sweden. He has degrees in French, microbiology, molecular biology, and biophysics.

More on the chef

Hunter Moore, Parson’s Chicken & Fish

Hunter Moore is the executive chef at Parson’s Chicken & Fish. Moore got his first professional job at a cheeseburger joint in Florida at sixteen. He moved to Champaign-Urbana after high school, where – while working at mediocre Italian and Vegan spots – he began to think creatively about food. From there, he moved to Chicago to attend culinary school, and once out of school, Moore worked his way through some of the city’s best kitchens, deepening both his knowledge of and passion for the craft of food, as well as cooking and hospitality in general. For Moore, food isn’t just about nourishment but about bringing us all together.

If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate in the program, please email For parking locations near the facility, please visit

For more information, please call (312) 422-5580.