UCSF to Host 2017 Breakthrough Prize Symposium on Dec. 5

TED-Style Talks Will Include Shinya Yamanaka and Other Past Breakthrough Prize Laureates

UC San Francisco is hosting the 2017 Breakthrough Prize Symposium on Dec. 5, an event that will feature 14 TED Talk-style presentations about the latest advances in life sciences, physics and mathematics.

Jonathan Weissman speaks during the 2016 Breakthrough Prize Symposium at UC Berkeley
Photo by Peg Skorpinski/UC Berkeley

2017 Breakthrough Prize Symposium

UCSF is hosting this year’s symposium, which will feature talks about the latest advances in life sciences, physics and mathematics.

When: Monday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: Mission Bay Conference Center

The Breakthrough Prizes aim to celebrate science and scientists and to generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career. The prizes were founded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin; 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki; technology investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner and his wife, Julia Milner; and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, UCSF-trained pediatrician and philanthropist Priscilla Chan.

For the fifth year, the 2017 Breakthrough Prize will award eight $3 million prizes in life sciences, one in fundamental physics and one in mathematics.

The annual celebration includes a full-day symposium sponsored by UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford University, with the venue rotating among these three institutions each year.

UCSF is hosting this year’s Breakthrough Prize Symposium at its Mission Bay campus. The symposium is free and open to the public, and it will feature 2015, 2016 and 2017 Breakthrough Prize laureates in life sciences, physics and mathematics giving 15-minute talks on topics ranging from Parkinson’s disease to string theory. Speakers will focus on their pragmatic visions of research goals achievable within the next decade.

The speakers will include Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, who won the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, talking about new frontiers in stem cell research. Yamanaka – who holds academic appointments at UCSF, the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes and Kyoto University – was the co-recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

Other Breakthrough Prize laureates speaking include:

  • Kip Thorne, PhD, and Rainer Weiss, PhD, 2016 Special Breakthrough Prizes in Fundamental Physics, on gravitational waves and black holes;
  • John Hardy PhD, 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, on new approaches to treating neurodegenerative disorders;
  • Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing; and
  • Svante Pääbo, PhD, 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Life Science, on Neanderthal genomics and human cognition.