Celebrating the Life and Science of Sydney Brenner
April 17 - 19, 2021
Registration Open thru April 1, 2021



Phillip Goelet, Acidophil, LLC
Barbara Meyer, HHMI/University of Califronia Berkeley
Jonathan Hodgkin, University of Oxford, UK
Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Daniel Rokhsar, University of California, Berkeley


March 2, 2020 - Because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we have opted to postpone this special commemorative symposium (originally scheduled for March 29-31 2020) till spring 2021. We trust you understand this decision and sincerely regret how this may impact your upcoming plans.


This special Commemorative Symposium will celebrate the life of the late irreplaceable and irrepressible Sydney Brenner (January 13, 1927 - April 5, 2019). It will now take place at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, starting at 7 pm on Saturday April 17, 2021 and concluding in the late afternoon on Monday April 19. We hope everyone originally planning to come can still attend..

Sydney made countless indelible marks on the development of modern biology. From his long and fruitful collaboration with Francis Crick to crack the genetic code (among so much more), to his co-discovery of messenger RNA; and from his cultivation of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans into a widely-used model system, which resulted in his shared 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, to his foundational efforts in establishing the Human Genome Organization (HUGO). We are privileged to host this celebratory meeting in his honor and hope you will join us.

Sessions Will Cover:
"A lifetime of discovery (biographical overview)"
"Everything fell into place and my future scientific life was decided then and there"
"Sydney let out a yelp … he had seen the answer"
"I would like to tame a small metazoan organism to study development directly (C. elegans I)"
"Nature's gift to Science (C elegans II)"
"Behaviour if the result of a complex ill-understood set of computations performed by nervous systems"

"Personal reminiscences (by invitation)"

Session Chairs (pending reconfirmation):
Tom Blumenthal, University of Colorado
Phillip Goelet, Acidophil, LLC
Jonathan Hodgkin, University of Oxford, UK
Barbara Meyer, HHMI / University of California, Berkeley
Thoru Pederson, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Keith Peters, University of Cambridge, UK
Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Gerald Rubin, HHMI / Janelia Farm Research Campus
Terry Sejnowski, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Byrappa Venkatesh, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore
Anne Villeneuve, Stanford University

Invited Speakers (pending reconfirmation):
Caroline Albertin, Marine Biological Laboratory
Bruce Alberts, University of California, San Francisco
Donna Albertson, University of California, San Francisco
Samuel Aparicio, BC Cancer Research Centre, Canada
Cori Bargmann, Rockefeller University
Robert Baughman, Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology, Japan
Arantza Barrios, University College, London, UK
Roger Brent, Fred Hutch
Martin Chalfie, Columbia University
Matthew Cobb, University of Manchester, UK
Stanley Cohen, Stanford University Medical School
Antonio Coutinho, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal
James Darnell, The Rockefeller University
Richard Durbin, University of Cambridge & Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK
Sam Eletr, Rhythm Diagnostic Systems
Balazs Gulyas, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Michael Hayden, University of British Columbia, Canada
David Hirsh, Columbia University
Oliver Hobert, Columbia University
Sophie Jarriault, IGBMC - CERBM, France
Jonathan Karn, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Cynthia Kenyon, Calico Life Sciences
Conrad Lichtenstein, Nemesis Bioscience, Ltd, UK
Seng Gee Lim, National University Hospital, Singapore
Susan Mango, University of Basel, Switzerland
Steven Martin, University of California, Berkeley
Matthew Meselson, Harvard University
Ikue Mori, Nagoya University, Japan
Carina Farah Mugal, Uppsala University, Sweden
Keith Peters, University of Cambridge, UK
Daniela Rhodes, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Richard Roberts, New England Biolabs, Inc.
Daniel Rokhsar, University of California, Berkeley
Gary Ruvkun, Massachusetts General Hospital
Ahna Skop, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Joan Steitz, HHMI/Yale University
Bruce Stillman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Antony Stretton, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert Waterston, University of Washington
John White, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Wong, Johns Hopkins University Medicine
Keith Yamamoto, University of California, San Francisco
Gene Yeo, University of California, San Diego
Semir Zeki, University College London, UK

Financial Support for this Commemorative Symposium is kindly provided by: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New England Biolabs, and an anonymous donor.

UK Genetics Society has generously offered to match UK Gen Soc members 50% of the registration, room and board charges for attending this event. Please submit proof of membership via email to Val Pakaluk when registering. Funds are limited and will be awarded on a first come first served basis.

Social Media:

The designated hashtag for this meeting is #cshlbrennersymp. Note that you must obtain permission from an individual presenter before live-tweeting or discussing his/her talk, poster, or research results on social media. Click the Policies tab above to see our full Confidentiality & Reporting Policy.


Academic Package: $885
Graduate/PhD Student Package:
Corporate Package: $1,160
Academic/Student No-Housing Package: $600
Corporate No-Housing Package: $775

Regular packages are all-inclusive and cover registration, food, housing, parking, a wine-and-cheese reception, and lobster banquet. No-Housing packages include all costs except housing. Full payment is due four weeks prior to the meeting.