Community Salon Series

Science & Art in the time of Covid-19 – A tale of viruses, pandemics & biological black matter 

Tuesday, January 12 - 6-7:15pm

Join us for a conversation about “telling the story” of viruses, pandemics & biological black matter. This salon features acclaimed pandemic expert Nathan Wolfe and award-winning playwright Lauren M. Gunderson (whose work includes The Catastrophist, a recent play about Wolfe’s work). Come learn more about tracking viruses and preventing pandemics, as well as creating thought-provoking art during (and about) the time of Covid-19. Please RSVP by clicking below:

RSVP here

Our salon will begin with screening of two short clips, from 6-6:15pm. Join us at 6pm to watch them in company, or at 6:15pm for conversation and Q&A (from 6:15-7:15)

  • Nathan Wolfe (Virologist)
  • Lauren M. Gunderson (Playwright)
  • Mariko Foecke
Previous appearances and works
Virologist Nathan Wolfe, named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work tracking viral pandemic outbreaks, proposed pandemic insurance years before the novel coronavirus outbreak. Nathan Wolfe talks about biological dark matter in “What’s Left to Explore”. You may also want to look at Nathan’s 2012 TED talk, “The Jungle Search for Viruses” and the attached June 2020 cover story from Wired Magazine about Nathan’s work with Metabiota, “We can Protect the Economy from Pandemics: Why Don’t We?”.
Lauren M. Gunderson has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015 topping the list twice including 2019/20. She is the recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Playwright Residency with Marin Theatre Company. Watch Lauren M. Gunderson talks about The Catastrophist here, performing in January & February 2021, with Marin Theater Company.
Detailed bios
Dr. Nathan WolfeVirologist
Dr. Nathan Wolfe is the Founder & Chair of Metabiota, which provides a unique data analytics platform for epidemic risk. Wolfe received his doctorate in Immunology & Infectious Diseases from Harvard in 1998. He has been honored with a Fulbright fellowship and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Wolfe has published over 100 scientific publications and his work has been published in or covered by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes among others. His critically acclaimed book, The Viral Storm, has been published in six languages and was shortlisted in 2012 for the Royal Society’s Winton Prize. In 2011 he was named as one of the TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Agents of Change” in 2009; and Popular Science recognized him as one of their “Brilliant 10” in 2006.
Lauren M. Gunderson - Playwright
Lauren M. Gunderson has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015 topping the list twice including 2019/20. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Playwright Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her play The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You; Exit, Pursued By A Bear; The Taming and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists Play Service (The Revolutionists; The Book of Will; Silent SkyBauer; Natural Shocks; The Wickhams and Miss Bennet) and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr Wonderful and Her Dog: Blast Off to the Moon! is available from Two Lions/Amazon.
Mariko Foecke '13 - co-moderator
Mariko Foecke is a second-year PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences program at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focuses on the effect of maternal stress on germ cell development. She previously worked as a Life Sciences Research Professional in the Utz Lab at Stanford University. She graduated cum laude from Colorado College in 2017 where she earned degrees in Molecular Biology and French. Mariko graduated from International High School in 2013, where she completed the IB bilingual program and discovered her passion for the biological sciences.