Science Colloquium discusses evolution in nature and in the lab

Bryan Shawn Wang, lecturer in biology at Penn State Berks, will present "Combinatorial Biology: Strength in Numbers" at the next Science Colloquium at 1:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in room 125, Luerssen Building. This presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

According to Wang's abstract, “Natural selection, as a mechanism of evolution, has produced ‘endless forms most beautiful’ -- the giraffe’s elongated neck, the peacock’s colorful plumage, a desert beetle that drinks by standing on its head. Scientists have developed laboratory techniques that mimic natural selection on the molecular scale by generating very large populations of biomolecules, each unique and genetically tagged, and identifying individuals that exhibit a desired trait.”

In this talk, he will discuss one such artificial selection method, phage display, and its application to the engineering of self-associating transcription factors. The X-ray crystal structure of one of these proteins reveals a design that reflects architectural principles that have also been adopted by natural transcription factors. The combinatorial strategies underlying evolution in nature and in the lab constitute a powerful model for creation and refinement that could inform many fields of human endeavor.

The Science Division colloquia are of broad and general interest, accessible to a general audience. All students, faculty, and interested members of the Penn State Berks and surrounding community are welcome and encouraged attend. For more information, contact the Penn State Berks Science Colloquium Coordinator Jianbing Qi, associate professor of physics, at 610-396-6132 or via email at

Media Contacts: 

Dr. Jianbing Qi

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Dr. Jianbing Qi, Associate Professor of Physics and the Penn State Berks Science Colloquium Coordinator at Penn State Berks

Last Updated February 11, 2015