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Juniata Conference Centers on Training Young Scientists

(Posted July 21, 2004)


HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College will play host to representatives from more than 25 colleges and universities -- noted across the nation for top-notch undergraduate science programs -- at a conference starting at 8 a.m., Monday, Aug. 9 through Tuesday, Aug. 10 on the Juniata campus. The conference is designed to help institutions specializing in undergraduate science education react to the changing needs of the National Institutes for Health for future research scientists.

"NIH recently announced an organizational change called 'the roadmap' that reflects the challenges to developing an effective framework for research in the post-genomic era," explains Michael Boyle, von Liebig Chair of Biomedical Science at Juniata. "Central to the road map initiative is the need for cross-disciplinary scientists who can function as members of a research team. The next generation of scientists will be expected to participate in teams, work across traditional disciplines and institutional boundaries, and be able to communicate effectively among themselves. The challenge for small undergraduate colleges is how to prepare students for these career opportunities."

The focus of the conference is to discuss the challenges that face undergraduate institutions in responding to the changing research methods that have resulted from advances in technology, as well as the large amount of data that has resulted from completion of the human genome project.

Researchers and administrators from Bryn Mawr College, Colgate University, Davidson College, Vassar College, Mount Holyoke College, Beloit College, Allegheny College, the University of Pittsburgh, Dickinson College, Bates College and Swarthmore College will participate in the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the Center for Education Technology at Middlebury College, which is part of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE, pronounced "nightly").

The conference begins Monday, Aug. 9 at 8:15 a.m., with a presentation "Overview of the Challenges for Life Science Research." The session will be presented by Nancy Desmond, director of the Office of Research Training and Career Development at NIH. Following that session, Sally O'Connor, program director for the Directorate for Biological Sciences in the National Science, will give "The National Science Foundation Perspective."

At 10:45 a.m., Jeffrey Sich, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Graduate School of Biological Sciences will present "Pathways Leading to a Career in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research." The following presentation "10 Equations That Changed Biology" will be presented by John Jungck, director of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium at Beloit College.

At 12:15 p.m.. Lorraine Mulfinger, associate professor of chemistry and director of Science In Motion, Juniata's secondary school outreach science program,, will deliver a lecture on Science in Motion, Juniata's award-winning science outreach program.

In the after noon, a talk on "Ethics in Research and Education" will be given by Rosa Lynn Pinkus of the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a presentation, "Roadmap for Reaching Under-represented Populations for Science," by Edwin Fowlks, of Hampton University. The presentations end at 3:45 p.m. with a presentation "Science in Society in the 21st Century" by Paul Grobstein, of Bryn Mawr College.

During dinner at Juniata's Raystown Field Station, which starts at 6:30 p.m., Daniel Drell, program manager of the Life Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy, will present the lecture "Genomes to Life."

The second day of the conference, Tuesday, Aug. 10, will open at 8 a.m. with successive presentations on "Genome Consortium for Active Teaching," by Malcolm Campbell of Davidson College, followed at 9 a.m. by Michael Roberts, of Dickinson College and the presentation "NITLE Bioinformatics Initiative." At 9:40 Thomas Wenzel of Bates College, will deliver the presentation "Outcomes of the Undergraduate Research Summit: The Chemistry Perspective."

At 11 a.m., Philip Meneely of Haverford College will make a presentation on Haverford's Koshland Integrated Natural Science Center. Nancy Hensel, national executive officer for the Council for Undergraduate Research, will make the 11:30 a.m. presentation, "CUR: The Undergraduate Research Catalyst."

After the presentations, participants will break into small groups to create
proposals for future collaborations and identify issues and core goals for undergraduate science curriculum.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.