The Gene with Q&A | WKAR

April 29, 2021
7:00pm Eastern Time
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Unravel the history of the human genome and explore the genetic ethical implications in this special screening of Ken Burns’ The Gene: An Intimate History.

From the story of the remarkable accomplishments of the earliest gene hunters and the bitterly fought race to read the entire human genome, to the unparalleled excitement and ethical challenges of CRISPR and gene therapy, the documentary takes viewers on a journey through key genetics discoveries that represent some of the greatest achievements in human history.

This special screening presents 35 minutes of select excerpts from the full documentary series.

Following the film screening will be a Q&A session with a panel discussing the film and new discoveries about genetics, behavior and autism.

Presented by

WKAR Public Media

MSU Center for Research on Autism, Intellectual and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Autism Alliance of Michigan

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Video Descriptions

OVEE TitleCard

5 minutes

Welcome to OVEE!

Julie Sochay Senior Director of Content and Communication

The GENE - Version 2 Engagement Screener

Station screening reel for THE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY. Version 2.

Please Stay for the Q&A

A Brief Pause

Thanks for joining us!

Julie Sochay Senior Director of Content and Communication

60 minutes



  • Angie Kankula

    Panel Moderator
    Project Coordinator of Michigan State University Center for Research on Autism, Intellectual and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (C-RAIND)

  • Andrea Amalfitano

    Amalfitano is a board certified clinical geneticist and a trained classical research scientist. In his clinical practice, he regularly identifies patients with autism and the underlying cause(s) for their autism diagnosis, many of which are due to specific genetic alterations identified through advanced clinical genetic testing.

  • Sarah Douglas

    Sarah Douglas is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies where she is also the director of the RADD lab (Research in Autism and Developmental Disabilities). Her background is in special education and her research focuses on supporting children with autism and developmental disabilities, their families, and their educational teams.

  • Chris Durrance

    Chris Durrance is a documentary filmmaker who has worked on numerous major series and more than a dozen films for PBS FRONTLINE, including College Inc., The Madoff Affair and Return of the Taliban. He has worked all over the world, including Europe, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and China and is the winner of a Peabody, two Emmys, a duPont-Columbia silver baton and an Overseas Press Club award. Chris has frequently collaborated with Barak Goodman, notably on two series with Ken Burns and Dr. Sid Mukherjee – a six-hour documentary The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies, which aired in 2015, and "The Gene: An Intimate History," which aired as a four-hour film on PBS in Spring 2020. Recently, he directed, also with Barak Goodman, a feature documentary on gerrymandering, Slay The Dragon, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and completed work on an HBO film about cyber warfare, which aired in the fall of 2020.

  • Joanna Monk-Lofton

    Joanna Monk-Lofton is the Community Resource Specialist for AAoM’s MiNavigator Team. She has over 20 years of experience assisting families with mental and physical challenges. Joanna worked at The Children’s Center of Wayne County providing support to staff, connecting families to community resources and advocating for the educational rights of children with special needs. Prior to joining the Children's Center Joanna operated as the Associate Director of (CAUSE) Citizens Alliance to Uphold Special Education for the tri county area. Along with the day to day operations Joanna worked to develop a network of parents of children with special needs as advocates. As advocates they fought for the educational rights of children in schools and intern assisted other parents with their children. She has been active in her community through several organizational and county boards. Joanna is the parent of a young adult with special needs and has worked diligently to assist him and others in achieving their life goals and improving their quality of life.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.