Hacking the Body, Mind and Society
Monday 14th May 2018
Doors Open 19:30 | Event 20:30 - 23:00
de Jonge Admiraal
Javastraat 149, 1094 HE Amsterdam


An evening where six scientists will present discoveries and technology to hack the human body, mind, and society 


We will hear how gene editing may treat disease and optimise our children. How eating poop can balance your gut and heal your heart. Explore whether you may want a brain implant to control computers. See if it is possible to erase memories to treat psychological trauma. Hear whether the recovery memories might be a myth. And look at how social media and fake news bias our decisions and shape our society.

Gene editing to treat disease

CRISPR is on everyone’s lips right now. It’s the tool that has made gene editing in the labs simple, cheap and effective. We can now cut and mutate DNA simply by targeting them with CRISPR. Eventually, we’ll be able to treat diseases, improve agriculture and even create designer babies (like it or not). As you can see, CRISPR will play a significant role in our lives. The future is now and it looks promising. However, before we get ahead of ourselves we need to know what we’re dealing with. What is CRISPR and how does it work? Importantly, how can we use it to treat diseases such as cancer?

Santiago Gisler

PhD Student 

Nederlands Kanker Instituut

Bugs as drugs – the science of fecal transplantation

The gut microbiota is increasingly recognized as an important regulator of energy metabolism. Alterations in gut microbiota composition have been associated with the presence of obesity, which is accompanied by a low-grade inflammatory state and increases the risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus. Although causality still needs to be proven, there is a large body of evidence supporting a role for the gut microbiota in the development of obesity and the associated diseases


Guido Bakker

PhD Student 

Academisch Medisch Centrum

Deep brain stimulation treatment

Brain cells communicate with electric signals. In research, we can access this activity and we can modulate this as well. That means that we can read from and write to the brain. This is not science fiction anymore. But, in contrast to Hollywood dystopia's, scientists use this knowledge to help patients. What if your brain is working, but you can't control your muscles anymore, so you are locked-in? The first people with Locked in Syndrome are already using a Brain-Computer interface at home to interact with their environment. In the lab, much more exciting possibilities are already a reality.

Erik Aarnoutse

Assisstant Professor and Neurotechnologist

Universiteit Utrecht

Memory erasure

Emotional memories are at the core of many psychological disorders, from fears and phobias to addiction. These memories are particularly difficult to treat, as they are typically strong, long-lasting, and tend to resurface even after initially successful treatments. I will discuss how the emerging science of memory 'reconsolidation' may provide a new avenue for tackling such memories. We'll look at how this approach differs from traditional models of treatment, and what it's implications might be - both clinically and ethically.

James Elsey

PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology

Universiteit van Amsterdam

Can you be made to remember an event that didn’t actually happen?

Can memories be repressed for years and then be recovered? Can you be made to remember an event that didn’t actually happen? In this talk I will debunk some of the myths surrounding memory and explain what science tells us about how memory works. I will discuss legal cases and recent events in the news featuring recovered memories. You will be left wondering which of your childhood memories are real, and which are figments of your imagination.

Annelies Vredeveldt

Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Criminal Law and Criminology 

VU University of Amsterdam

Social media, fake news, and trolling

In the aftermath of recent elections and the buzzword phenomenon of 'fake news', there is an increased attention to the role of third-parties on social media. Third-party apps are associated with malicious and manipulative behaviour that is said to interfere with opinion formation as well as politics and public policy, undermining social media as site of meaningful engagement. The astonishment surrounding recent revelations attest to the fact that nuanced academic knowledge on third-party apps is direly needed. This talk suggests ways to study platform infrastructures and their interplay with third-party apps.

Esther Weltevreden

Assistant Professor of New Media & Digital Culture

Universiteit van Amsterdam

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