The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) kicked off AIHce 2012 in Indianapolis, IN yesterday with a thought-provoking presentation on scientific innovations that could radically transform human evolution.

Opening Session speaker Juan Enriquez, co-founder of Synthetic Genomics Inc., described experiments on the cutting edge of science that are transforming how people live and work, and which, according to Enriquez, could potentially alter the course of human evolution.

The science of genomics—the application of genetic biology to DNA sequencing—is increasing our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of human thoughts, emotions and actions.

Enriquez described innovations that make it possible to transform genetic data into binary code and feed it into a computer, which potentially gives humanity the power to directly and deliberately control the evolution of its own species.

“This research that seems so extreme, so out there, may end up having more of an impact on your life, and your kids’ lives, than any financial crisis,” Enriquez said.

Opening day activities also included the presentation of a number of AIHA awards and honors:

• Edward J. Baier Technical Achievement Award: Daniel Drolet

• Distinguished Service Award: Loren Anderson, CIH, ROH

• Donald E. Cummings Memorial Award: Franklin Mirer, PhD, CIH

• Kusnetz Award: Michael Finnamore, MSPH, CIH, CSP, CHMM

• Alice Hamilton Award: Cindy Coe, CIH

• Social Responsibility Award: Developing World Outreach Initiative (DWOI)

• Yant Award: Tan Kia Tang

In the days before the “official” opening of the conference, AIHA hosted 57 pre-conference professional development courses (PDCs) spanning a variety of topic areas, which were attended by more than 2,000 industrial hygiene professionals.

The call for AIHce 2013 PDCs is now open. Anyone wishing to present an industry-related PDC in Montreal should submit an application at