Santa Monica College continues its Distinguished Scientists Lecture Series this fall with expert presentations on a variety of developments in today’s world of science. The presentations, which include an audience Q&A, return October 1.

The presentations in the series are free, and will be held online as live virtual events. A Zoom link taking guests directly to each event in the series will be available with the listing on the event date at shortly before the presentation begins. To attend, Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer (free download available at

The Distinguished Scientists Lecture Series line-up for fall 2021 is:

• Friday, October 1, at 1 p.m. — Miya Osaki and Tina Park: “Reflective Design Methods for Changing Health Care: An Interactive Conversation with Diagram’s Miya Osaki and Tina Park” — Miya Osaki and Tina Park — founders of Diagram, a New York design studio dedicated to improving healthcare experiences and health outcomes by seeing through the eyes of the patient — will talk about how to gather and translate patient and provider insights to create better, more meaningful experiences and design tools that help patients better manage their conditions. Park, with significant experience in leading innovative research within healthcare organizations, pioneered a design research team at Johnson & Johnson’s Global Strategic Design Office implementing innovative research methods that uncover the voice of the patient. Osaki, who brings her skills in interaction design, human-centered research, storytelling, and behavior design to create experiences that improve outcomes and empower patients, is the former Director of Experience Design at Johnson & Johnson’s Global Strategic Design Office. Sponsored by the SMC Associates, SMC Communication & Media Studies Department, SMC Design Technology Department, and SMC Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences departments.

• Thursday, October 21, at 11:15 a.m. — Michael Berry: “Translation and the Virus: COVID-19, Cyber-Politics, and Wuhan Diary by Fang Fang” — Wuhan Diary by Fang Fang, a blog that ran for 60 days in early 2020 documenting the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, quickly became an online phenomenon attracting tens of millions of Chinese readers, and a lightning rod for fierce political debate in China. Michael Berry will talk about his work translating Wuhan Diary into English, and how the blog provided an important portal for Chinese around the world to understand the outbreak, the local response, and how the novel coronavirus was impacting everyday people. He is Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA. Sponsored by the SMC Associates, SMC English Department, and SMC Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences departments.

• Tuesday, December 7, at 11 a.m. — Dr. Lisa Cunningham: “Hearing Loss Caused by Therapeutic Drugs: Basic and Clinical Studies” — Dr. Lisa Cunningham will talk about her research in basic, translational, and clinical studies on sensory hair cell degeneration and hearing loss in the mature inner ear, and her work in developing therapeutic strategies to safeguard hearing. Hair cells in the ear are susceptible to death from a variety of insults, including aging, noise exposure, and certain “ototoxic” medications used clinically to treat life-threatening diseases such as cancer and bacterial infections. Dr. Cunningham is the Scientific Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the 27 institutes that comprise the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sponsored by the SMC Associates and the SMC Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences departments.

More information is available by calling the SMC Office of Public Programs at 310-434-4100.

Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC