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Saturday Morning Science


Spring 2018

Gary Staab

March 10 (at Rockbridge High School Performing Arts Center)

Gary Staab

Dinosaurs and Cavemen
Gary Staab is a world famous artist whose work is ubiquitous and found at every natural history museum in the country, if not world. Besides sculpting life-sized models of dinosaurs, crocodiles, mammoths, muscles and microbes, he’s also been recently responsible for recreations of King Tut and Otzi the Iceman that have been featured prominently in the media. His talk will be at Rockbridge High School Performing Arts Center as part of its Dinosaurs and Cavemen Expo and is co-sponsored by Saturday Morning Science.



March 17

Scott Rector
Associate Professor
Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
Research Health Scientist, Truman VA

Lifestyle Modification and Healthy Plant-Based Diets to Improve Metabolic Health
Looking beyond drug therapy for management of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  This talk will focus on the latest evidence in the use of lifestyle modification as well as the latest science driving the popularity of plant-based eating in reducing cardiometabolic disease risk.


April 7

D Cornelison
Biological Sciences & Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
Bond Life Sciences Center Principal Investigator

CRISPR Critters: How gene editing is changing our world (and maybe us)”
The recent development of gene editing techniques has given us the ability to quickly and easily make precise changes in the DNA of plants, animals, and people- and sparked legal, ethical, and medical debates about when, how, and whether to use them. We will discuss what CRISPR is, how it works, and how it is changing science and medicine.

Ruthie Angelovici

April 14

Ruthie Angelovici
Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences
Bond Life Sciences Center Principal Investigator
Can quantitative genetics of seed amino acids help feed the world?
Seeds are a major source of protein in human and livestock diets. However, the seeds of major staple crops such as maize,  soybeans and rice are deficient in several essential amino acids (EAA). Failure to consume sufficient levels of EAA per day leads to severe malnutrition, even if ones calorie requirements are met. In this lecture, we will explore the potential of new genetic approaches to create new super-seeds food and feed.

Jeff Bryan

April 21

Jeff Bryan
Associate Professor of Medical Oncology
College of Veterinary Medicine
Companion dogs help researchers collar cancer
Cancers of companion dogs share similarities to those of humans because of shared genetics, shared environment, and shared lifestyle habits.  Through understanding the mechanisms of cause, progression, and treatment of cancers in our companion dogs, comparative oncologists are seeking strategies for improving human health. Dr. Bryan will share MU’s efforts to improve life at both ends of the leash for cancer patients through our comparative oncology program.

Walter Gassmann
April 28

Walter Gassmann
Plant Sciences
Interim Director, Bond Life Sciences Center
Microbes: a plant’s friends and foes
As one of the very few life forms that can convert sunlight directly into food, plants have to be able to fight off everyone else to thrive and not be consumed. Our research focuses on the plant immune system that is finely attuned to detecting the presence of microbes. While notorious plant diseases such as the Irish Potato Famine highlight the devastation microbes can cause, it is increasingly clear that plants also rely on beneficial microbes and cultivate their presence. We will discuss the balancing act the plant immune system has to achieve to allow optimal plant health.

Kevin Middleton

May 5

Kevin Middleton
Associate Professor
Pathology and Anatomical Sciences
School of Medicine
Understanding Science News: What do those statistics really say?
Statistics are a fundamental part of our lives and impact decisions that we make and decisions that affect us. While scientists use statistics to draw conclusions from data and understand the world around us, those conclusions often make it into the popular media. I will talk about how the public can become better statistical consumers, filtering the important from the not-so-important and in the process better understanding their world.