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Spencer Wells

Geneticist, Anthropologist, Author, Entrepreneur, Adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin

Geneticist, Anthropologist, Author, Entrepreneur, Adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin

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Austin, TX, USA
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Spencer Wells Biography

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry, Pandora's Seed. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he is Founder and CEO of personal genomics company Insitome, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas, and co-owner of the iconic Austin blues club Antone’s.

Spencer Wells Speaking Topics

  • Consumer Genomics: The 30,000-foot view

    The consumer genomics industry is a product of the past decade. The Genographic Project, which launched in 2005, is widely credited with its creation, and companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA now collectively sell more than 1 million DNA testing kits a year. In this talk, Wells presents a broad view of the industry from its “cottage” roots to its broader acceptance by the general public in North America. Topics covered include ancestry testing, the viability of testing for health-related traits, and the regulatory environment in which consumers for the first time in history have a means to read their own genetic blueprints. A rare first-person account of the dawn of a new industry, presented by one of its founders and leading advocates.

  • Innovation: An Evolutionary Imperative

    It has been said that the only certainty is change. Today this seems to be truer than ever, as we deal with economic and ecological upheaval our ancestors never could have imagined. Or could they? Creator and director of National Geographic and IBM's Genographic Project and author of three popular books on humanity's ancient past, Wells takes a much broader view. From the evolutionary origins of human innovation to our modern preference for technologies that appeal to hunter-gatherer minds, Wells provides lessons that resonate in today's rapidly changing world.

  • Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization - Terrorism, pandemic disease, and global warming -- what do these have in common?

    To find the answer we need to go back ten millennia, to the wheat fields of the Fertile Crescent and the rice paddies of southern China. It was then that our species made a radical shift in its way of life, progressing from a largely hunter-gatherer society to controlling our food supply by domesticating animals and plants. Journey with Dr. Wells on a 10,000-year tour of human history as he charts the rise to power of Homo agriculturis and the effects this radical shift in lifestyle has had on our species, and speculates on where we might be headed in the future.

  • The Human Journey: A Genetic Odyssey

    Join Wells on an epic journey that spans the globe, using DNA to trace the migration routes of our ancient ancestors and revealing the incredible tapestry of human diversity created along the way.

Spencer Wells Videos

  • Spencer Wells - The past, present and future of personal genomics ...
    Spencer Wells is a pioneer of the consumer genomics industry. In his talk at Science Unlimited 2019, he discussed today's era where more and ...

Spencer Wells Books

  • Pandora's Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival
    Pandora's Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival
  • Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
    Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization
  • Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project
    Deep Ancestry: Inside The Genographic Project
  • The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
    The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Speaker Lists Featuring Spencer Wells

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  • What topics does Spencer Wells speak about?

  • Where does Spencer Wells travel from?

    Spencer Wells generally travels from Austin, TX, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Spencer Wells is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Consumer Genomics: The 30,000-foot view, Innovation: An Evolutionary Imperative, Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization - Terrorism, pandemic disease, and global warming -- what do these have in common? and The Human Journey: A Genetic Odyssey. The estimated speaking fee range to book Spencer Wells for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Spencer Wells generally travels from Austin, TX, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Calvin Trillin, Ray Kurzweil, An Phung, Jeffrey Israel and Peter Thiel. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Spencer Wells for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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