Public Program

There will be a large public participation program linked with the Congress.  The program will touch on a wide range of topics that impact, fascinate or concern members of the public.  The program will be engaging.  It will be creative. It will stimulate dialogue.

Details of all public program events appear below, however if you wish to view information on one particular event you can click the event name below to be taken straight to their event page.

I am not my chromosomes - the science of sex differences (this event was held Monday 29 May)
Jurassic Park 3D - Thursday 22 June
Celebrating Science & Faith at St Paul's - An Evensong Worship Service - Sunday 16 July
Women in Science – Unique Journeys to Different Peaks - Monday 17 July
Origins - Tuesday 18 July
Genetics vs Sport - Wednesday 19 July
Future Forums: The Genetic Rescue of Our Fantastic Beasts - Wednesday 19 July
Population DNA screening for disease risk is coming – what you need to know - Thursday 20 July
The Scientific & Spiritual Human - Saturday 22 July


Monday 29 May 2023

6-7pm Monday May 29 
Science Gallery, 700 Swanston Street, Melbourne 

"Are they a girl or a boy?" That question is often asked of expecting parents almost out of habit. 

But biology is far more complicated and more interesting. 

Some of us are born with variations in sexual development, also known as intersex conditions. 

Join a powerful, compassionate, and open dialogue between trailblazers - scientists, people with lived experience, clinicians, and more. 

Untangle the confusing maze of sex, hormones, biology, medicine, and the law ... to explore our evolving understanding of sex differences. 

Hosted by Natasha Mitchell, presenter of ABC Radio National's Big Ideas program and podcast. You can listen to the program made from this event here or on the ABC Listen app (within Australia) or on your favourite podcast app (not yet on Spotify)
Listen online now
Sponsored by

Thursday 22 June 2023
Book now

Celebrate the upcoming International Congress of Genetics with a screening of Spielberg’s masterpiece JURASSIC PARK 3D and an exclusive conversation with Dr Andrew Pask, Professor in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne and head of the Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research lab. 

In this one-off Q+A event, Pask will delve into the critical questions the movie poses – could living dinosaurs be cultivated from prehistoric DNA? – and how this 1993 Hollywood classic informs his work into the de-extinction of the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger).  For more information and tickets look here.

Sunday 16 July 2023

Join us at a reflective and celebratory Evensong service on 16 July at the beautiful St Paul's Cathedral to welcome a week of discussing genetics, genomics, and society at the International Congress of Genetics.  Celebrate the wonder of science and faith, with worship led by the Cathedral Choir, a sermon from Archbishop Philip Freier, prayers, and Scripture readings.  Archbishop Freier has supported science:faith dialogue.  In 2009 he spoke at another special service at the Cathedral, celebrating Charles Darwin’s 200th birth anniversary.  Among several other qualifications, the Archbishop holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science.   Find out more at:

Monday 17 July 2023, 6 -7:30pm

Join us at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for an engaging moderated conversation with extraordinary women who are leaders in scientific research and communication.  We will hear of their journeys, achievements and interests outside of science. 

Speakers will include:

Professor Doctor Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (Germany) who shared the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1995 for “discoveries concerning the
genetic control of early embryonic development”. 

Professor Anne Muigai (Kenya) who is the joint leader of the African Biogenome Project
that aims to sequence the genomes of 100,000 species of plants and
 animals endemic to Africa.

Valda Vinson (USA) with a research background in Chemistry and Biochemistry,
Valda is the Executive Editor of the Science journals published by AAAS.

The Moderator for this event will be:
Associate Professor Jen Martin, award winning science communicator, radio host, teacher and ecologist.

This is a free event, but tickets are required.  Tickets will be available here.

Sponsored by

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Origins – of the universe, of life, of species, of humanity – is a breathtaking, contemporary oratorio conceived by evolutionary geneticist Jenny Graves. This major secular work uses words and images from cosmology, genetics, evolution and anthropology to tell the creation story from science. Brilliant Australian composer Nicholas Buc has woven beautiful and inspiring text by Jenny and poet Leigh Hay into an oratorio to be performed by full orchestra, the 100-strong Heidelberg Choral Society and professional soloists under the baton of well-known conductor Peter Bandy. Origins will make you think, despair, laugh and celebrate the role of science in our understanding and stewardship of our beautiful little planet.

Jenny Graves speaks to Robyn Williams about Origins on the Science Show (ABC Radio National)
Jenny Graves on the origin of Origins
Jenny Graves speaks about her love of music and Origins in The Age
Singing the story of our origins

Tickets are now on sale here.

Proudly sponsored by

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Genetics vs Sports
Are super athletes born or made? Join us as our panel of experts takes on the nature vs nurture debate in sport.

From cultural norms to scientific factors, the field of sports is a complex and fascinating arena. Whether you're an Olympic weightlifter or a basketball player, your genetics can give you an edge, but it’s not the only factor at play. Family support, economic status, coaching, training and diet also make a difference. Join our experts as they explore the latest scientific research. Gain insight into what makes a super athlete. Book now! for this free event to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 19 July from 5:30-6:30pm.

Our experts include:

Professor Kathryn North
 a global leader in research on human genetics,
is the Director of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and leads the
national body Australian Genomics. In her research on genes involved in
muscle function her team identified genetic variants associated with
elite athletic performance.

Darcy Moore, 
an extraordinarily talented and widely respected AFL footballer,
Captain of the Collingwood Football Club.

Melissa Tapper
 a champion table tennis player who has the remarkable
distinction of competing at a Paralympic and Olympic Games in the same year.

The Moderator for this event will be Tracey Holmes, one of Australia’s
very best sports journalists and presenters with a career spanning over 30 years.

Wednesday 19 July 2023
Book now
Hear from experts leading ground-breaking advancements in genetics to save critically endangered species from extinction. Join the conversation to explore cutting-edge research into genetics and genomics, and learn how these innovations can preserve genetic diversity, restore populations of endangered animals and protect the precious biodiversity of our planet.  See the Fantastic Beasts exhibition before the conversation.

Hosted by Natasha Mitchell, presenter of ABC Radio National's Big Ideas program and podcast. You can listen to the program made from this event here or on the ABC Listen app (within Australia) or on your favourite podcast app (not yet on Spotify)
Listen online now

Thursday 20 July 2023, 6 -7pm

DNA screening for risk of disease that can be prevented or treated (like some cancers or heart disease) is being offered to 10,000 Australians (18-40yo) though the DNA Screen pilot study. This testing could save lives, but there are many ethical and societal issues to consider. Are Australians ready for this kind of testing? Would you take the test?  What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How does this compare to international approaches? Join this exciting event to learn about cutting-edge research, informing the future of population DNA screening. Be part of the conversation!

Hosted by Natasha Mitchell, presenter of ABC Radio National's Big Ideas program and podcast. You can listen to the program made from this event here or on the ABC Listen app (within Australia) or on your favourite podcast app (not yet on Spotify)
Listen online now

Panelists will include:

Assoc. Prof Paul Lacaze (Monash University) - a pioneering leader in
public health genomics and population DNA screening. 
He is the Project Leader of DNA Screen

Dr Jane Tiller (Monash University) - a lawyer and genetic counsellor
and has a keen interest in the ethical and legal aspects of genomics and public health

Professor Nancy Cox (Vanderbilt University, USA) - Director of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute
and Director of the Division of Genetic Medicine.

This is a free event, but tickets are required.  Tickets will be available here.

Sponsored by

Saturday 22 July 2023
More information
The Scientific & Spiritual Human is a one-day, in-person conference in Melbourne exploring the intersection of faith and science in shaping humanity’s genetic future. Join us as we’re led by an impressive lineup of experts in science and theology on how faith can speak into being humans of the future (gene editing, human enhancement, etc.), and humans of the earth (biodiversity, caring for the planet, etc.). Find out more at 

Join the Conversation  Follow us on Facebook  Connect with us on LinkedIn

119 Buckhurst Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia
T +61 3 9645 6311

©2018 International Congress of Genetics 2023