Today, we have the tools in hand to decode the entire set of genetic instructions (i.e., genome) that make people people, orchids orchids, or honey bees honey bees. Within weeks after the COVID-19 was isolated from patients in Wuhan, China, the “text” of the virus’s genetic instructions was read and published online. This talk is about the remarkable story told by this new virus’s genetic sequence on where COVID-19 came from and how it works.


Chris Wallace
Dr. Robert F. Welty Associate Professor of Biology

Chris Wallace is a neuroscientist in the biology department where he teaches introductory classes and an advanced neurobiology course. He is interested in the interaction between genes and the environment, especially the influence of individual experience on brain development.

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COVID-19: A Liberal Arts Approach to the Study of a Global Pandemic was created in the spring of 2020 as a special one-credit course for Whitman College’s most newly admitted students, offering them an opportunity to get to know our distinguished faculty and to study a significant event in human history.