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Biology, Biotech, and Environmental Science News

Dr. Karl Pfeifer, a Senior Investigator from the National Institute of Health (NIH), visited Stevenson University last week as a special guest speaker for the Department of Biology to speak about his research on “The use of Genetic Engineering to Understand Cardiac Arrhythmias.” Dr. Pfeifer is a mouse geneticist and his research pertains to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science from George Washington University in 1978 and with his PhD. in Biology from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988. He was recruited by the NIH in 1995. The goal of Dr. Pfeifer’s research is to develop mouse genetic models in order to understand how the mammalian heart develops and functions normally.

For more information about Dr. Karl Pfeifer and his research at the NIH you can follow this link: http://irp.nih.gov/pi/karl-pfeifer

Kayte Spector-Bagdady, the Associate Director of The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, spoke to Dr. Glaser’s genetics class last week about law, policy, and ethics in genetic testing.  Ms.  Spector-Bagdady has both a Law degree and a Master’s degree in Bioethics, and has worked at The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (the Bioethics Commission) since 2010. The Bioethics Commission is an advisory panel of the nation’s leaders in medicine, science, ethics, religion, law, and engineering. It serves to advise the President on bioethical issues resulting from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology. The Bioethics Commission also seeks to identify and promote policies and practices that ensure scientific research, health care delivery, and technological innovation are conducted in a socially and ethically responsible manner.

For more information about the Bioethics Commission check out the following link: http://www.bioethics.gov/

Barbra Levin, the executive director of NFMidatlantic, spoke to Dr. Glaser’s Genetics class about neurofibromatosis. NFMidatlantic is an organization dedicated to educating the public about neurofibromatosis, an autosomal dominant disorder. This is the third semester that Dr. Glaser’s class has had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Levin and each semester the class also speaks to an individual with neurofibromatosis over Skype. Neurofibromatosis causes tumors to form on nervous tissue and can occur anywhere in the body. The disorder can be very disfiguring as a result and can cause other serious complications.

For more information about neurofibromatosis you can follow this link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neurofibromatosis/basics/definition/con-20027728

Dr. Keith Johnson is offering an opportunity for students to join him on a research trip to the Galapagos Islands for a one credit option associated with Biology 115 and Environmental Science 307. The trip is set for January 6-13, 2015. They will first be touring a few mainland sites in Ecuador, including an active volcano and the equatorial line. Following this, they will head out to the Galapagos Islands and spend several days hiking, snorkeling, and moving between the islands on boats. Additionally, students will be able to spend some time at the Darwin Research station, where they work on Land Tortoise conservation. This is an incredible opportunity for students to explore other cultures and learn about conservation efforts.

Erin Smith, class of 2006, will be heading to Nepal this January with the Acupuncture Relief Project. She graduated with a Master’s degree in acupuncture from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. Erin has worked at the Blueberry Gardens Healing Center in Ashton and feels that this trip to Nepal will be a great experience for personal growth. The Acupuncture Relief Project is a nonprofit organization that sends practitioners to work in clinics set up by the Nepalese government in remote villages. For more information check out the following link: http://m.gazette.net/article/20141112/news/141119757/1124/a-healing-touch-ashton-acupuncturist-headed-to-nepal&template=frontpageMobile

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