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The Science & Technology Discovery Series is a monthly breakfast program featuring presentations from leading researchers and innovators, as well as opportunities to engage and ask questions of them. The program is designed for community leaders who wish to stay informed about the most important advancements being made by top research institutions and companies. Presentations are held September through May, from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Rainier Club in downtown Seattle. Each Discovery Series program includes a breakfast buffet, networking time, a Q&A session, and an opportunity to meet the speaker.

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2014-2015 SCHEDULE

September 12, 2014
Benjamin Hall - Professor, UW Genome Sciences & Biology
How One Professor Changed Puget Sound Research 

Inside the state research community, Benjamin Hall is a giant. A member of UW's faculty since 1963, Hall's discoveries are used in vaccines worldwide, and have netted the university over $250 million in licensing revenue. This revenue has not only helped UW - which named a cutting-edge research building after Hall - but played an important role in Puget Sound's emergence as a world-class research ecosystem. Don't miss this rare opportunity to engage with one of Washington's most influential scientists.


October 10, 2014
Larry Smarr - Professor, UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering 
The Measured Man: A Scientist's Decade-long Research on His Own Body

From the Nike Fuelband to the impending "smartwatch" boom, there's a growing industry focused on measuring our bodies in detail, poised to play a key role in the future of healthcare and wellness. Astrophysicist and computer scientist Larry Smarr has been a pioneer in this field for over a decade, and will discuss his experiments in quantifying his own body, and the shape of things to come in this important field.


November 7, 2014
Nitin Baliga - Senior Vice President, Institute for Systems Biology
The Magnificent Microbe and the Future of Biotechnology

Microbes are not only found throughout our bodies, but in every environment on earth, guiding evolutionary processes and how biological systems operate. As our understanding of them deepens, links have been discovered between understanding microbial networks and understanding complex diseases. Nitin Baliga will discuss this exciting field, and how the predictive modeling of microbes could revolutionize medicine and biotechnology.


December 12, 2014
Charles Murry - Professor, UW Center for Cardiovascular Biology
Healing the Heart: Recent Breakthroughs in Repairing Heart Muscle

In newspapers across the globe, Charles Murry's research has been heralded as 'unprecedented' and a 'very big deal.' Earlier this year, Murry was able to use human stem cells to regenerate heart muscle in monkeys, potentially transforming the treatment of heart disease in coming years. Murry will present the story behind this breakthrough, its implications, and the challenges still to come.


January 9, 2015
Jacob Leachman - Asst. Professor, Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
From Drone Fuel to Fusion Energy, Exploring Hydrogen's Potential

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but our ability to harness it for fuel is currently limited, and often considered risky due to its flammability. Jacob Leachman is leading research to change that. His lab at WSU works on projects with Boeing, NASA, and many more organizations, and is on the cutting-edge of hydrogen fuel research, whether it be for rockets, cars, or drones. In this wide-ranging and informative discussion, Leachman will dispel misconceptions about the element's use as fuel, and discuss its world-changing potential.


February 13, 2015
David Montgomery - Professor, UW Earth & Space Sciences
The Lessons of Oso and Western Washington's Geology

Professor David Montgomery was part of the "geological SWAT team" that visited Oso earlier this year, and was tasked with developing recommendations to prevent another such disaster. He will discuss the latest advances in geological hazard research, the history of Western Washington's topography, and how we can best determine other high-risk areas before it's too late.


March 13, 2015
Chen-Ching Liu - Director, WSU Energy Systems Innovation Center
A Smarter Power Grid: The Benefits and Controversies

The more real-time data that can be collected on an energy grid, the more stable it can become. Brownouts and outages can be detected quickly, and cyber attacks can be more readily deflected. However, with the growth of energy intelligence and smart meters in homes, there comes significant security and privacy concerns. Chen-Ching Liu will delve into the balance between collecting smarter energy information and maintaining personal security, a 21st century debate that's only just getting started.


April 10, 2015
Susan Dumais - Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research
Thinking Outside of the (Search) Box

With every passing year, more information becomes available online. This is creating a renaissance in human knowledge and our understanding of the world, but it also makes it more difficult to navigate and find what's pertinent. Since 1997, Susan Dumais has been studying these issues as part of Microsoft Research. She will discuss new innovations that will transform “search” as we know it today by understanding natural language and context, providing answers rather than links, and supporting requests reliant upon images or speech, leading to such breakthroughs as the translation of verbal conversations in real time.


May 8, 2015
Lee Hood - President and Co-Founder, Institute for Systems Biology
The Healthcare of Tomorrow: Advancing Our Understanding of Ourselves

Lee Hood is advancing a new vision of medicine, in which health care is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory. As part of this mission, Hood is conducting an intensive study of 100 individuals, in which their wellness is thoroughly and regularly monitored through a battery of tests, to gauge how every lifestyle choice affects their health. If successful, there are plans to grow the study to include 100,000 individuals, making it one of the largest ever studies of its kind. Hood will share the insights the study has uncovered so far, and how it could pave the way to Healthcare 2.0.


Individual Memberships are $295 for the entire 9-breakfast program and are pro-rated as the season progresses. Membership is non-transferable and includes two individual guest passes. Contact Katy Tollefson or (206) 389-7259 to register.

Network Memberships provide the flexibility to share the experience with colleagues, clients, and friends. Network Memberships are $1,000 for the entire season and are prorated as the season progresses. A Network Membership enables your company or organization to send any four people to each breakfast, and Network Members receive recognition onscreen before and after each presentation.


Interested in sponsoring the Discovery Series? Engage with our audience of business and community leaders as a Science & Technology Discovery Series sponsor and enjoy these great benefits: 

  • Five fully flexible memberships for the season; 
  • Twenty individual guest passes; 
  • Your company logo featured on signage and onscreen at breakfast; 
  • Company logo and link in electronic communications; 
  • Verbal recognition at the podium during each breakfast; and 
  • The opportunity to introduce featured speakers.

Contact Katy Tollefson at (206) 389-7259 for more information or to reserve your Discovery Series sponsorship package today.

Past Seasons

Since 2001, the Discovery Series has hosted a who's who of the region's top thinkers and innovators. To see line-ups from past seasons, please click here