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NHMLAC and XPRIZE Foundation Announce Partnership

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and XPRIZE Foundation Announce Partnership Supporting 2020 NHM First Fridays Season

Presenting sponsor will contribute panelists for discussion series themed “The Future is Now” 

February 26, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) — The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) and the XPRIZE Foundation, known for designing and operating incentive competitions to address humanity’s grand challenges, announced today a new partnership as XPRIZE becomes the presenting sponsor of the 2020 season of NHM’s First Fridays live music and discussion series. Kicking off on Friday, March 6, the First Fridays theme for 2020 is “The Future is Now.” The series will feature a range of XPRIZE scientists and stakeholders as speakers, beginning with XPRIZE futurist Dr. Roey Tzezana in a conversation about the future of medicine on March 6, followed by XPRIZE Ocean Initiative lead Anupa Asokan in a discussion about the future of environmental studies on April 3. 

“With a shared focus on innovation for a sustainable future on Earth, we are excited to partner with XPRIZE Foundation for the 2020 First Fridays season and are grateful for their support of our public programs,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director, Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. “The XPRIZE competitions draw attention to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today and help to bring solutions into focus. We look forward to the informative and thought-provoking conversations they’ll contribute to over the course of the series.” 

“XPRIZE works tirelessly to create a future of abundance and sustainability for all of humanity, and the ‘Future is Now’ series at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County offers a wonderful opportunity to discuss how our team and other experts are crafting a better tomorrow, today,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. “The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is a historic institution that intersects the past, present and future, and we’re proud to partner with such a driven organization.”

Guests are invited to wander through NHM’s halls after-hours during First Fridays events on March 6, April 3, May 1, and, June 5 for live music performances and enlightening discussions about the future, moderated by award-winning Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrison​​. KCRW is the First Fridays media sponsor. Full details and tickets are available at NHM.ORG/firstfridays.

Friday, March 6, 2020
Future of Medicine

Tickets on sale now


Secrets from the Vault - 5:30 pm | 7:30 pm
Join science correspondent and Ologies podcast host, Alie Ward, as she asks NHM research specialists about their collections and discovers details hidden in plain sight. Each month features a different expert to uncover the big mysteries, strange oddities, and untold stories from the museum.


Future of Medicine - 6:30 pm
With Dr. Alexis Komor and Dr. Roey Tzezana, moderated by Patt Morrison

The MDs still have the remedies, but self-monitoring through medical apps is putting each of us in sync with our own bodies. And our own bodies can now guide doctors to curing what ails us, thanks to diagnostic genetic profiling, and to fixing us before we can get sick, with tools like CRISPR.

Dr. Alexis Komor is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California at San Diego. While at Caltech, she worked as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow on the design, synthesis, and study of DNA mismatch-binding metal complexes and received her Ph.D. in 2014. She pursued postdoctoral work as a Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of David R. Liu, where she developed base editing, a new approach to genome editing that enables the direct, irreversible chemical conversion of one target DNA base into another in a programmable manner, without requiring double-stranded DNA backbone cleavage.

Dr. Roey Tzezana is a futures studies researcher at Tel Aviv University, a research fellow at Brown University, and lead researcher for the XPRIZE Foundation. Dr. Tzezana led the research about human longevity, which should eventually, hopefully, lead to the development of treatments to stop and reverse aging. Dr. Tzezana is acting as a scientific consultant to several firms and international organizations, and is the author of several best-selling books about the future of technology and society.

Moderator Patt Morrison is Los Angeles writer and newspaper columnist who has a share of two Pulitzer Prizes, and has won he has won six Emmys and eleven Golden Mike awards for her work hosting public television and radio programs. 


Café Molly - 7 pm
French Vanilla - 8 pm
Wajatta - 9 pm

KCRW Resident DJ: Novena Carmel - 5 - 6 pm | 8:30 - 10 pm
Guest DJ: Josh Peace - 6 - 8:30 pm

For more information about the discussions, speakers, performers and DJs, visit at NHM.ORG/calendar/first-fridays-march-2020.

UPCOMING FIRST FRIDAYS DATES (full schedules to be announced):

Friday, April 3, 2020: Future of Crowdsourced Science
Friday, May 1, 2020: Future of Design and Architecture
Friday, June 5, 2020: Future of Food*

*Season finale includes an outdoor concert


Non-members: $20 (March through May), $25 (June)
Members: Free (limited tickets available)

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit NHM.ORG/firstfridays.

Please be aware that event capacity is limited and likely to sell out. Purchase your tickets online before the day of the event as only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Member tickets are non-transferable and Members must show photo ID to claim their tickets. To guarantee admission, Members must arrive prior to 7 pm on the night of the concert to redeem their tickets.

Tickets include access to the Museum after-hours. Access to the conversation, panel discussion, DJ lounge, and Concert Hall will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007 

About the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County 
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, and the William S. Hart Museum. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking scientific and historic research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in L.A. neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs—creating indoor-outdoor visitor experience that explore the past, present, and future.

About XPRIZE Foundation
XPRIZE designs and operates multi-million-dollar, global competitions to accelerate the development of technological breakthroughs that benefit humanity. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE and the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit

Download press release


Sally Marquez