Open Dialogue and Keynote

Open Dialogue with Dr. Gene Robinson, UIUC
Interpreting the Language of Bees

Gene Robinson is an eminent entomologist who pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome. Currently, Robinson is the Director of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois and a professor of entomology. On February 10, 2009, his research was famously featured in an episode of The Colbert Report whose eponymous host referred to the honey Dr. Robinson sent him as "pharmaceutical-grade hive jive".

Tricking honey bees into thinking they have traveled a long distance to find food alters gene expression in their brains, researchers report this month. Their study, in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior, is the first to identify distance-responsive genes.

Foraging honey bees make unique research animals in part because they communicate in a language humans can decode, says Univ. of Illinois professor Gene Robinson, who led the study.

After a successful hunt, a forager performs a highly stylized “dance” that tells her peers what direction to go to find the food, how good it is and how far away it is. The bee does a “round dance” if the food is close to home, while a “waggle dance” indicates it is farther away.

The new study used an established method for altering a honey bee’s perception of distance as she flew through a tunnel to gather food.

JohnPaul Kusz's 
Keynote Presentation
The Power of Story

In collaboration with business, government, non-government groups and other stakeholders, JohnPaul Kusz, president of JP Kusz, Ltd., facilitates the making and remaking of innovative product, business, and system models that are intentionally designed to address the inherent risks of our current models while advancing a healthier environment, society, and economy.

The Power of Story
Behind every successful design there often is a compelling story. Our success in creating a more sustainable world depends on the story now being written. 

It is in the present that we create the future. We are writing our story and cognizance that what we create today is very important in approaching, and hopefully achieving, sustainability.

Design has the power through the stories we write – with the products and the services we create – to fulfill a legacy of a better world.