ASA 2019 Plenary Speakers
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Gayle E. Woloschak

Gayle E. Woloschak is Professor of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Cell and Molecular Biology and Associate Director of the Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; prior to 2001 she and her research group were at Argonne National Laboratory in the Biosciences Division. She is also Adjunct Professor of Religion and Sciences at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, as well as President of the Orthodox Theological Society of America (OTSA). Dr. Woloschak received a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences with a specialization in Immunology from the University of Toledo, Medical College of Ohio (1980), and she completed her postdoctoral training in the Departments of Immunology and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Clinic, where she later became an Assistant Professor. Dr. Woloschak’s scientific interests are predominantly in the areas of molecular biology, radiation biology, and nanotechnology studies. She has authored over 200 scientific papers and received grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy. Dr. Woloschak is on the editorial boards of five scientific journals, including the joint publication board for  Zygon: A Journal of Science and Religion. She is a member and currently Associate Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, and director of the Epic of Creation and Future of Creation Science-Religion programs.

Woloschak will be speaking, Sunday, July 21, 3:00 PM in Coray Auditorium (abstract below).

Perspectives on Life and Creation

Biology is not so much concerned with life’s origins (i.e., the chemistry that lead to the building blocks of life such as proteins and DNA) but is more concerned with the question of once life is here, what does it do, what makes it life.  These questions are complicated and difficult to address.  I have chosen to take the view that life (at least on Planet Earth) can be defined in part least by the fact that it evolves.  Life is perhaps about isolated cells but more often about whole organisms (which may in fact be isolated cells for bacteria, for example).  Organisms reproduce but that reproduction is in part contingent on evolution (selection of the reproductively fittest organism for that environment).  How do we understand creation (the actual origins of life) in relation to the changing and existence of life driven by evolution?  How can this be done in a religious context?  Several key issues are important:  (1) Life on earth is united by the fact that it evolves, and this evolutionary process is the same (and different) for each organism. (2)  Life and Earth are co-related and co-evolved and life outside of the context of Earth may look very different and may even have different definitions.  (3)  Because of the link between life and Earth (and Earth is related to environment) there is a distinct relationship between evolution and ecology.