Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council presents the sixth program in its series: “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.”

CHICAGO – Genetic science has evolved substantially from Gregor Mendel’s early experiments with peas to current research on how humans might one day regrow severed or damaged limbs. What have been the key developments in genetics? How has organized religion’s relationship with genetic science evolved over time – from providing support for Mendel to do his work, to its current role in policy debates on stem cell research?

“How Did We Get Here from Mendel? The History of Genetics” will take place on Wednesday, March 14 from 6:00 – 7:30 P.M. at TheField Museum’s Simpson Theatre, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580 or send an email to This event is wheelchair accessible.

Our panel of scientists and historians will examine the history of genetic science from Mendel to the present. The panel will also discuss moments in history when genetic science was used for purposes of discrimination and genocide, specifically in Nazi Germany. Following the program, audience members will be invited to a free viewing of the Field Museum’s exhibition “Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics” from 7:30 to 9:00 P.M.

“How Did We Get Here from Mendel?” is presented in partnership with the American Medical Association and The Field Museum.

The panelists for “How Did We Get Here from Mendel?” are:

  • Dr. Garland E. Allan, Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis;
  • Dr. Patricia Heberer, Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum;
  • Dr. Cheryl E. Johnson-Odim, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dominican University; and
  • Dr. Brent Waters, Director, Stead Center for Ethics and Values, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.

“How Did We Get Here from Mendel?” is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s year-long series, “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.” Programs are taking place around the state — in Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Jacksonville, Lewistown, Peoria, and Springfield — to increase public knowledge of genetics by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the genetics revolution and its impact on the individual and on society. Programs feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, medical professionals, and philosophers as guest speakers.

For the most recent calendar of events or for more information, please visit”Future Perfect” is funded in part by generous grants from the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are media sponsors for “Future Perfect.”

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


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