Genomics - the study of DNA and how it works - is one of the great buzz words in science and health. It's also a mystery.

The University of Arizona College of Science has begun a six-part weekly lecture series to explain the basics of genomics and their importance in 21st century research and life itself.

"It is really a revolution that going on right now in biology and in medicine, and a lot of it is being driven by understanding of the genome," UA College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz says.

That fact is why the college developed the lecture series, Ruiz says.

"Our hope in each one of these lectures is that people will get most of it, because it's really hard to get all of it," he says. "But at the end of it, they'll recognize what's still a mystery, what we really know about it and what the promises are about the genome."

The series, all at 7 p.m. at UA's Centennial Hall:

  • Part 1: Are Genes the Software of Life? Jan. 30, featuring Fernando D. Martinez, a physician who is director of the BIO5 Institute; director of the Arizona Respiratory Center and a professor of pediatrics at the UA College of Medicine.

  • Part 2: The Genesis of the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic, Feb. 6, featuring Michael Worobey, UA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

  • Part 3: Genomics and the Complexity of Life, Feb. 13, featuring Michael W. Nachman, UA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

  • Part 4: The 9 Billion-People Question, Feb. 20, featuring Rod A. Wing, UA professor of plant sciences and director of the Arizona Genomics Institute at the UA.

  • Part 5: Epigenetics: Why DNA Is Not Our Destiny, Feb. 27, featuring Donata Vercelli, UA professor of cellular and molecular medicine and director of the Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases at the UA.

  • Part 6 - Genomics Tomorrow, March 6, featuring a panel of the five earlier presenters moderated by Ruiz, College of Science dean.