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David Ewing Duncan        

Internationally Best-Selling Author & Journalist

A best-selling author of seven books and an award winning science journalist, David Ewing Duncan is dedicated to exploring leading-edge science and technology, and its consequences in the present and in the future. A prolific writer, editor, commentator and television correspondent for NPR, ABC Nightline, NOVA, National Geographic, Wired, and many others, Duncan is famous for translating cutting-edge science and technology into provocative, accessible and entertaining content.

In an unprecedented display of his passion for science and how it impacts people and the environment, Duncan agreed to be the first ever human tested for virtually all high-tech tests available — genetic, environmental, neural, and body. Few people are as informed about the brave new world of personalized medicine as David Ewing Duncan.

Recently, he founded the Center for Life Science Policy at UC Berkeley to focus on studies and initiatives on topics ranging from personalized medicine to extending human lifespan; the politics of stem cells; and the integration of environmental studies with human bioscience.

Duncan takes “guinea pig” journalism to the cutting edge of science in his newest best-selling book, The Experimental Man. Building on award winning articles he wrote for Wired and National Geographic, Duncan puts every aspect of his physical makeup under the microscope. His mission, as perhaps the most tested healthy person in history, is to discover what the most advanced medical technology can tell him, and us, about our future health; the effects of living in a toxin-soaked world; and how genes, proteins, personal behavior, and an often-hostile environment interact within our bodies. It’s the ultimate exam intended to explain and assess how personalized medicine could revolutionize the health care industry.

Duncan has always sought out stories and issues where clashes of ideas, cultures and discoveries occur. Chief Correspondent of NPR Talk’s Biotech Nation and a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, Duncan was also a former contributing editor to Condé Nast Portfolio and was the “Natural Selection” science columnist for Portfolio.com. In addition, Duncan regularly contributes to National Geographic, Fortune, Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Smithsonian, The Guardian, The Washington Post (Book World), and The New York Times, among others.

Duncan’s other books include the best-selling Pedaling the Ends of the Earth, about his bicycle expedition around the world, and Hernando Soto: A Savage Quest in the Americas, called “an astonishing tour de force” by The New York Times Book Review. He wrote Residents: The Perils and Promise of Educating Young Doctors, Cape to Cairo: An African Odyssey and Masterminds: Genius, DNA and the Quest to Rewrite Life. He also wrote the international best-seller Calendar: Humanity’s Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year, published in 19 languages, and a best-seller in 14 countries.

Duncan is also the Founder and Editorial Director of the BioAgenda Institute, an independent, non-profit program of events and educational initiatives that discusses and analyzes crucial issues in life sciences — which has been being folded into the new Center for Life Science Policy at UC Berkeley. He works at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, and lives in San Francisco.

At the podium, Duncan explores his passion for what comes next after new technologies appear – what happens in business, politics, science, philosophy, the media, the arts and to society as a whole. In his presentation, he discusses the most important and controversial topics of today’s scientific research, from stem cells and synthetic biology, to rising drug prices and reforming the FDA. Duncan also focuses on perhaps science’s most significant story: a species’ potential to self-evolve.

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