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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Center for Physics: Elizabeth Jerison

Elizabeth Jerison

This event was recorded on August 16, 2023 at Aspen Center for Physics during the 2023 Heinz R. Pagels Memorial Lecture Series, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

Our tissues and organs remain stable over years, but can also abruptly change their chemical and cellular composition locally to defend against pathogens or repair wounds. This remarkable process is called inflammation, and is both essential to our survival and extremely dangerous. How the living materials that make up our bodies control inflammatory responses — and why this control sometimes fails — remains largely mysterious. In this talk, Elizabeth describes emerging efforts to discover quantitative principles underlying these responses, driven by new tools from biology combined with theoretical physics. In particular, she discusses how we can ‘watch the movie’ of inflammation in live cells and animals, and the avenues this opens for understanding dynamical control of these responses.


Elizabeth Jerison works at the interface of physics and biology, studying the collective dynamics of tissues, with a focus on immunity. She joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as an Assistant Professor of physics in 2023. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University prior to moving to Chicago. She is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface.