ELSI Annual Public Lecture 2024 will be held on Wednesday, 1 February 2024. The theme of the lecture is ‘A Mission to Earth’, and the event will feature ELSI’s Associate Professor Shawn McGlynn and Mayumi Seto, Assistant Professor of Nara Women’s University. The first lecture will be in English, and the second is in Japanese. There will be a simultaneous interpretation. This event is on-site event and there will be no live streaming.


Date and time: Thursday, 1 February 2024, 19:00-20:50 (Doors open at 18:30)

Theme: A Mission to Earth

Venue: Multi-Purpose Digital Hall, Ookayama West Bldg. 9, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Ookayama station, Tokyu Line, 3 min. walk)

Organiser: Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), Tokyo Institute of Technology


Shawn McGlynn (Associate Professor, ELSI)

Mayumi Seto (Assistant Professor, Nara Women’s University)

Moderator: Naohiro Terasaka (Specially Appointed Associate Professor, ELSI)

Language: English/Japanese (Simultaneous interpretation)

Fee: Free

Registration: Prior registration is required. Capacity at 300 people.


Registration deadline: Wednesday, 31 January 2024 (*The application will be closed when the number of applicants reaches 300)


Contact: pr@elsi.jp


Lecture 1

How much do we really know about life on Earth? 

Shawn McGlynn, Associate Professor, ELSI

In the last decades we have learned through genome sciences that the planet is covered and filled with life forms who we have never seen. Although the general picture of biology has come into focus, it is an exciting time to be biologist right now. This lecture will present the frontier of what we do and do not know of life on Earth, and possibly other planets.

Shawn McGlynn is an associate professor at ELSI, Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan for some 8 years and published scientific papers in prestigious journals. McGlynn grew up in Montana, USA and studied chemistry to understand; “how does soap work?” and “why is hot water better for washing dishes than cold water”? He studied biochemistry in graduate school to find out how life works, and continues to this day at his laboratory.

Lecture 2:
How does life connect cell and Earth energy?

Mayumi Seto (Assistant Professor, Nara Women’s University)

Life has a hierarchical organisation and adeptly harnesses energy at every level. There are many similarities across these levels, and even human society has much to learn about energy utilisation from microbial life. In this presentation, I aim to contemplate life’s energy utilisation beyond hierarchies and explore the existence of life from an energy perspective.

Mayumi Seto is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science at Nara Women’s University, specialising in biogeochemistry, thermodynamics, and theoretical ecology. Her research employs mathematical modelling and simulation to investigate the relationship between energy utilisation by microbial communities and their structural dynamics, contributing to a deeper understanding of life-environment complex systems and bridging the fields of biology, chemistry, and environmental science.


Naohiro Terasaka (Specially Appointed Associate Professor, ELSI)

Please click here to download the flyer.


(Credit for Shawn McGlynn’s photo: Nerissa Escanlar / ELSI)