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Unearthing Stories Past & Present


The Role of Ancient DNA Forensics in Identifying October 7 Victims

Prof. Gila Kahila Bar-Gal in conversation with Gemma Tognini

Join us for a fascinating and enlightening evening on Thursday 8 August, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, as Prof. Kahila Bar-Gal explains to Gemma Tognini how she used her expertise in wildlife forensics and ancient DNA to become a key figure in the extraction of DNA from badly burnt bones to identify hundreds of victims of October 7.

Professor Gila Kahila Bar-Gal is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, serving as the head of the Molecular Evolution Laboratory, at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, within the The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Additionally, she holds the position of Director of the National Natural History Collections of the Hebrew University and is certified by the Society of Wildlife Forensic Science (SWFS) as a Wildlife Forensic Scientist. Gila’s research crosses evolution, co-evolution, animal domestication, anthropology, human ecology, conservation genetics, new technologies in research and conservation of cultural heritage and wildlife forensics. Tragically, her unique talents were also utilised after the October 7th massacre, for help in identifying bodies which burned to such an extent that even ancient DNA forensic techniques used to identify remains from millions of years ago were difficult to apply.

Gemma Tognini is the founder and executive director of global strategic advisory firm, GT Communications, which specialises in corporate affairs, media relations and reputation management. Gemma is also an influential social and political commentator, author, broadcaster and columnist. She writes a leading column each Saturday in the Weekend Australian and has contributed to many other publications, including the recently published, Australia: The Way Forward.

We will also hear from Associate Professor Gil Davis, Director of the Ancient Israel Program at Australian Catholic University. Gil has led several archaeological digs in Israel in partnership with the Hebrew University. Gil will detail how these students discover a love for Israel and an appreciation and understanding of the Jewish People’s ancient connection to the land.

Thursday 8 August | 7:00pm – 8:30pm | Eastern Suburbs Venue TBA




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