Biology Department Seminar Speakers

Hi, my name is Ben Hackett and I am a senior Biology major at ShepherdUniversity.
This semester the biology dept. has started a new program that I really hope they continue. They are having seminar speakers come in and give a talk about their current research. We have had two this semester and they have been really exciting. This first seminar was hosted by a man named Dr. Daniel Terlizzi. His research is on Harmful Algae in the Chesapeake Bay.  This was a very interesting talk to go to because it addressed multiple subjects and audiences. Since he is based in Baltimore, it was also cool to see things on a local scale. Science is so often from some lab that you’ve never been to or heard of but this was only an hour away from Shepherd. He talked about different organisms including Pfiesteria piscicida and Karlodinium veneficum. These are different species of harmful algae and dinoflagellates. He talked about how these algae were causing massive fish kills in theChesapeake and other local areas. It was nice to see the data presented in a biological way but it played very well into the environmental science field.

The second seminar which happened this past Monday was presented by a woman named Dr. Bonny Dickinson from The School of Osteopathic Medicine inLewisburg,WV. She talked about her research on dendritic cells and immunosuppressive enzymes. She was very interesting to listen to. Her presentation was much more medically based as would be expected than the last speaker which really captured my attention. As a Pre-med concentration and medical school hopeful I was very eager to hear what she had to say. As her presentation continued we saw how much of what we are currently learning was actually being used in the real world. Understandings of biochemistry, cell biology, and immunology were needed to work on the research she was doing. It was so intriguing that I wish she had talked for more than the hour she was given.
These seminars are a great way for students to see what real scientists and researchers do in the real world. It can give you an idea of what’s out there and might even lead you to a topic you want to research. Now ok so as a student you might be thinking, “Ok but who is really going to give up their time to go sit through some lecture?” While this is an excellent question you might be surprised by the answer. The truth is that the room we hold these seminars in has been packed to the top every time. We have biology and chemistry students from every year come out to listen. We also have almost every single biology professor come out to hear what’s to be said. Here at Shepherd we really take an interest in learning about the sciences and do everything that we can to increase our knowledge and understanding of how and why our fields work.
Well that’s all for now. Hope you guys reading this are enjoying it so far (I hope someone’s reading this). Keep looking for what’s new from the world of Shepherd science.  🙂
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