Dr. Brenna Henn
Dr. Brenna Henn is a population geneticist in the Department of Anthropology and in the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. She began her research by studying the deep population structure and complex migration patterns of African hunter-gatherer groups. Motivated by her PhD training in anthropology, she aims to approach questions of genomic and phenotypic diversity from an interdisciplinary standpoint. She continues to primarily focus on African populations. Her field sites include efforts to collect DNA samples, demographic data and biomedical phenotypes in the Kalahari Desert, Cederberg Mountains and the Richtersveld of South Africa, as well as collaborations in Namibia and Ethiopia.
Dr. Tim Weaver
Dr. Tim Weaver is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, and an Associated researcher of the Human Evolution Department, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He graduated with a double major in Computer Science and Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College (1995), and he received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University (2002). He was a postdoc in the Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison (2003-2004), and the Human Evolution Department, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (2004-2006). He joined the UC Davis Anthropology Department in 2006.
Having both professors present is especially exciting for event chairperson Patrick Desmond. "In true Darwinian spirit," said Desmond "Drs. Henn and Weaver and their colleagues have followed the data to a conclusion that's rocking the scientific world. According to their research, modern humans are the descendants of two populations that coexisted for a million years in Africa before merging in several independent events. This runs counter to some of the dominant theories about humankind's origins in Africa."
Sacramento’s Darwin Day Educational Gala is a community-based public event conducted annually around Charles Darwin's birthday. In the context of a party, its educational components are intended to foster in attendees a passion for science education. A presenter, usually a scientist or Darwin expert, speaks each year, highlighting science's contributions to humanity. Since 1998, the Sacramento area has hosted the annual event at various community venues with various sponsoring organizations and individuals. Desmond notes that "MOSAC's opening and collaboration with us are extremely exciting for everyone who appreciates science and its role in benefiting mankind."