Past Event

Elective Studies Supper Club Vol. 7: Corrie Moreau

Supper Club Vol-7 with Corrie Moreau PosterIn partnership with Land & Sea Dept., Illinois Humanities presents the seventh volume of Elective Studies Supper Club for Illinois artists, featuring a lecture by Dr. Corrie Moreau of the Field Museum, a meal by chefs Jennifer Jackson and Justin Tootla of Thank You, and an opening drink by Land & Sea Dept. Beverage Director Paul McGee.

This 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 support from The Joyce Foundation, and sponsorship by Death’s Door Spirits and Lagunitas Brewing Company.


The Evolution of Symbiosis in Ants and How I Became a Cartoon Character
Corrie S. Moreau
Field Museum of Natural History

Symbiosis is fundamental for life. All organisms interact in positive and negative ways with other species and these interactions can drive evolution and define a species ecological niche. With a worldwide distribution and more species than all the birds and mammals added together, ants are an ideal system to study symbiosis as they are parasitized by fungi and engage in symbioses with plants and bacteria.

In this chat we will explore how using molecular and genomic tools allows us to explore how social interactions benefit and harm species and how this may have driven the evolution of ants into novel habitats and onto new diets. Understanding the factors that have facilitated one of the most ecologically successful groups of animals on the planet, the ants, we gain insights into the processes that generate and maintain biological diversity. Ultimately, through careful studies of the role of symbiosis in social insect evolution we are improving our understanding of how similar processes shaped our own species.

At the same time it is critical for scientists to be able to share their research findings broadly. Science communication is becoming a valued aspect of any scientist’s arsenal. Translation of science can come in many forms, and it is often most effective when numerous platforms and technologies are employed. As sharing science is not only helpful for others to understand the importance of research but can also facilitate new lines of inquiry and collaborations, I will share my own experiences at sharing my research with diverse audiences.

Corrie Moreau, Ph.D.Dr. Corrie Moreau earned her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University and was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Before this she completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Biology at San Francisco State University. Currently Dr. Moreau is a tenured Associate Curator/Professor at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She is also a Faculty Member and Lecturer at the University of Chicago in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.

Dr. Moreau‘s research on the evolution and diversification of ants and their endosymbiotic bacteria leverages molecular and genomic tools to address the origin of species and how co-evolved systems benefit both partners. In addition, she pursues questions on the role of biogeography and symbiosis in shaping macroevolutionary processes to better understand broad-scale evolutionary patterns of life.




Pickle & Chub is a cooking team that features chefs Justin Tootla and Jennifer Jackson.

Jenn grew up in Athens, Georgia, cooking with both of her grandmothers, who taught her about the ingredients and traditions of her Southern heritage.

Justin was raised in the Midwest, exposed by his mother to all of the bounty it has to offer, while his father introduced him to the curries and spices associated with his Indian upbringing.

The two met while attending the CIA in Hyde Park, and set out together to develop their skills in farms and restaurants across the country, including Chez Panisse, Farm 255, Le Bernadin, The National, Prune and – most recently – Kinmont and Yusho in Chicago.

The two eagerly begin a new culinary chapter in the kitchen at Thank You., exploring and honoring the intriguing relationship between Chinese and (by way of neighboring Lost Lake) Tiki cultures. Inspired by the unique regional cooking of China, their menus are an exploration of how these dishes developed into staples of what is now referred to as American-Chinese cooking.


If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email
If you require a sign interpreter or any other arrangements to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event.