More than 30 WUSTL faculty members will participate in science and technology presentations when the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific organization, holds its annual meeting Feb. 16-20 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in downtown St. Louis.
The multidisciplinary program will feature more than 150 symposia, plenary and topical lectures, a poster competition, a career fair, career workshops and an exhibit hall.
Seminars and tutorials will offer in-depth looks at genomics, explore ways to deal with high-throughput data and explore the issues of seamlessness in education from kindergarten through university studies.
The meeting will also examine the biomedical and social ramifications of nanotechnology, the physics and economics of virtual worlds and the frontiers of mathematics. A special half-day event for teachers will explore the challenges to teaching evolution.
The plenary lectures will feature some of the world’s most accomplished science and science-policy thinkers.
Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. It is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, education and elsewhere.
“Washington University in St. Louis is extremely pleased to welcome the American Association for the Advancement of Science to our city, and is very proud that St. Louis was chosen as the venue for the annual meeting,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, an AAAS fellow.
“AAAS is an esteemed organization that has been integral in the dissemination and advancement of science since before the Civil War. It has been and continues to be a dynamic association, reaching out beyond universities and institutions to communities and government.
“We also are proud of the participation of our faculty in the program. We have many presenters on a wide range of topics, indicative of the breadth of our university. The AAAS annual meeting certainly offers a tremendous platform on which to observe scientific endeavors today.”
Nearly 1,000 scientific leaders will participate in the meeting, focusing on “Grand Challenges, Great Opportunities.”
“The program this year is designed to challenge us as scientists, engineers, teachers and citizens to frame important scientific and societal problems in ways that create opportunities to apply the best in science and technology for broad benefit,” said AAAS President Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., who will open the meeting with a plenary lecture at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16.
“We can mobilize individual disciplines and cross-disciplinary work on major national and global goals. We can boldly define problems and potential solutions for the decades ahead, thereby inspiring the scientific and engineering community and attracting young people to this mission.”
The University will staff an information booth on “St. Louis Row” in the exhibit hall. The Mars rover replica from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences will be the centerpiece.
The work of WUSTL faculty Joseph J.H. Ackerman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences and the William Greenleaf Eliot Professor; Raymond E. Arvidson, Ph.D., chair of earth and planetary sciences and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor;
Alison M. Goate, D.Phil., the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Genetics in the Department of Psychiatry and professor of genetics and of neurology in the School of Medicine; and Barbara A. Schaal, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences in biology and professor of genetics in the School of Medicine, will be summarized as examples of the breadth and excellence of scientific efforts at the University.
On Feb. 18, Ursula W. Goodenough, Ph.D., professor of biology, will give a plenary lecture titled, “The History of Nature: Why Aren’t We Teaching It in Our Schools?”
Keeping in line with the theme of “Grand Challenges, Grand Opportunities,” Himadri B. Pakrasi, Ph.D., professor of biology, will discuss the University’s own Grand Challenge Project in membrane biology that is using a systems approach to understand the network of genes and proteins that govern the structure and function of membranes, and their components responsible for photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation in two species of unicellular cyanobacteria.
Pakrasi heads a system biology program funded by the W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a National User facility managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Department of Energy. This program features an elaborate international collaboration involving six university laboratories and 10 national laboratory groups.
Among other presenters from the Hilltop Campus are Steven G. Krantz, Ph.D., professor of mathematics in Arts & Sciences, who will partake in a session devoted to the changing nature of mathematical proof; and Alan R. Templeton, Ph.D., professor of biology, who will provide a detailed discussion on the veracity of the late Ernst Mayr’s theory of genetic revolution.
Numerous outreach program presenters will participate in educational sessions. Sarah C.R. Elgin, Ph.D., professor of biology, of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and of genetics in the School of Medicine and of education in Arts & Sciences, will make two presentations. One will be on undergraduate students’ experiences with research programs; the other will be on the effectiveness of partnerships in support of genetics and genomics in K-12 and undergraduate curricula.
David F. Gillespie, Ph.D., professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, will discuss earthquake risks in the central United States. Ernst K. Zinner, Ph.D., research professor in physics and in earth and planetary sciences, both in Arts & Sciences, will present an overview of research in solar-system grains in meteorites.
From the School of Medicine, Steven L. Teitelbaum, M.D., the Messing Professor of Pathology and Immunology, will speak during a session on stem-cell legislation and policy.
He will speak on translating complex and controversial scientific information for the nonscientific community. The symposium will use the stem-cell legislation in Missouri as a case study.
Richard D. Todd, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Child Psychiatry in Psychiatry, the Blanche Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry (Child Psychiatry) and professor of genetics; and John N. Constantino, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and of pediatrics, will speak on the family and genetic basis of autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder syndromes.
Carla L. Easter, Ph.D., research instructor in genetics in the School of Medicine, will present during a session on partnerships that have benefited the local community by increasing exposure and access to the resources within the neighborhood. Easter, director of the outreach program at the Genome Sequencing Center, will speak about how separate science and community outreach efforts can keep their autonomy while working toward a common goal.
Shin-ichiro Imai, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular biology and pharmacology and of medicine, will speak about a genetic basis for potential anti-aging therapies. Cynthia A. Wichelman, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, will talk about the WUSTL Mini-Medical School, which under her direction provides an opportunity for the community to learn about medicine and the latest in medical research and to become familiar with the medical school’s physicians.
Other speakers from the School of Medicine include Carolyn J. Anderson, Ph.D., who will discuss a graduate program in imaging sciences she is implementing to train scientists for the next generation of advancements in the field; and Theodore J. Cicero, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research, associate vice chancellor and associate dean for animal affairs, vice chairman for research, Department of Psychiatry, and professor of neurobiology and of neuropharmacology. He will participate in a symposium about the critical need to shore up public trust through public accountability.
Approximately 750 members of the media from around the world will cover the meeting.
The nonprofit AAAS is dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association.
In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated readership of 1 million. The association also publishes many newsletters, books and reports, and it spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science.
The latest research news can be found online at AAAS’ EurekAlert! (eurekalert.org), the premier science-news Web site.
|Faculty & administrators’ AAAS topics
Below are WUSTL faculty and the topics they will discuss at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting Feb. 16-20 at the Renaissance Grand in St. Louis.