Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Science Café Stellenbosch

​​​Science Café Stellenbosch is an initiative of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University to promote the public discussion of science.

The aim of a Science Café is to bridge the gap between science and the general public by entering into a conversation in a non-academic environment, like a restaurant or café. There are already hundreds of Science Cafés all over the world.

Prof Louise Warnich, dean of the Faculty of Science at SU, says a Science Café is the ideal opportunity to involve the public in conversations about science: "Scientists have a responsibility to communicate the findings of their research, but we have an even greater responsibility to engage with the general public, and that in a language that everyone can understand."

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The next Science Café  

Discussion is led by: Prof Hugh Patterton, Director of the Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at SU

What can archaic DNA tell us about human history?

Speaker: Dr Janet Kelso

Date: 12 August 2021

Time: 18:00 - 19:00

Online Platform: MS Teams

Click here to join the meeting

More about the talk

Recent technological advances have made it possible retrieve and sequence DNA from ancient bones and other tissue remains found at archaeological excavations. Over the past decade we have reconstructed the genomes of several Neandertals, and also retrieved the genome of a previously unknown extinct Asian hominin group related to Neandertals, which we call “Denisovans". These genome sequences offer a unique opportunity to explore the population histories of modern humans and of our extinct Neandertal and Denisovan relatives, and to learn about our similarities and differences.

More about the speaker

Janet Kelso is a South African born computational biologist and group leader of the Minerva research group for Bioinformatics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. She obtained her BSc-degree in biology from the former University of Natal (now UKZN) in 1995, followed by a BScHons-degree in medical biochemistry and an MSc in chemical pathology from the University of Cape Town in 1997 and 2000. In 2003 she obtained her PhD in bioinformatics from the University of the Western Cape under the guidance of Professor Winston Hide. She joined the Max Planck Institute in 2004. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including inter alia the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the most outstanding paper in Science in 2010, and in 2016 she was elected Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).​

 Below: Well-known nature lover Dave Pepler in conversation with scientists Lester Davids, Jannie Hofmeyr and Gideon Wolfaardt about the evolution of skin colour, the wonder of the human cell, and your own personal microbiome at a previous Woordfees.