Biology research shared in seminars
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 00:10
For the past 12 years, the biological sciences department has held weekly life science seminars. The life science seminars are open to students and faculty who want to learn about different spectrums of the biological sciences.
The life science seminars pave a way for scientists to share their research with PUC and show biology students what biological science careers look like outside of a college classroom.
“I think it is very important to expose students to cutting-edge science that is being done, not only here in the department but elsewhere as well,” Associate Professor of Ecology Curtis Creighton said. “All [speakers] represent some of the different directions students can take in their own careers.”
The seminars are linked to two biology courses. Students in these classes are required to attend the weekly seminars. In the fall semester, the seminars are held on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. in Gyte Room 240, and in the spring semester, they will be held on Fridays at 1 p.m. On average, there are nine seminars each semester.
Kevin Feldheim, who holds a doctoral degree in biology, conducted the seminar held on Sept. 18, which consisted of research on population genetics of lemon sharks. Feldheim manages the Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution at The Field Museum in Chicago. During the seminar, Feldheim shared his doctorate research on lemon sharks in the Caribbean Sea.
Felheim said a lemon shark will give a live birth of four to18 pups and can live nearly 50 years. The lemon sharks mature around 10 to 12 years of age and mate about every two years. Feldheim explained that in the course of their research, he and other scientists were trying to determine the mating behavior and population genetics of lemon sharks in the area. The research process included capturing juvenile sharks, tagging them and taking DNA samples in order to figure out their genome. The software they used allowed them to figure out the genome, or genetic make-up, of the mother and father of the juveniles.
Each seminar covers a different area of biological research. Creighton is the head coordinator of the life science seminars. Creighton said this semester’s topics for the life seminars will include conservation biology, evolutionary biology, immunology, microbiology and molecular biology.
“We try to have speakers whose topic reflects the graduate courses being offered in the department the same semester, but that isn’t the top priority,” Creighton said.
The majority of speakers that present at the seminars are from the Chicagoland area.
The purpose of the seminars is to help students get a clear picture of how researchers communicate their thoughts, ideas and findings. Michael Zimmer, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, said researchers communicate in various manners.
“Scientists doing research communicate in three ways: publish manuscripts of their research results, present their data in a poster at meetings or give a talk either at a meeting or seminar,” Zimmer said.