Special guest Paul A. Offit, M.D., Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, joined us to share stories from his new book, Bad Faith. We had an engaging discussion of the interactions between religious beliefs and modern medicine. Dr. Offit also shared his first hand experience with a 1991 Measles epidemic here in Philadelphia, and the challenges he faced educating the public about immunizations. Thanks to Dr. Offit's publisher, some of our door prizes this event included two of his recently authored books.
Another engaging discussion with Dr. Karen Snetselaar, of Saint Joseph's University Department of Biology. We examined our various attitudes about wildlife, specifically flora, in urban environments, and discussed such questions as just why do we have the kinds of lawns and gardens we have now? We learned about some alternative ways to reimagine our urban landscapes and how these new ideas can help to promote biodiversity, and that's a good thing!
Dr. Nicholas Nicolaides (SJU class of 1987 and CEO of Morphotek, Inc.) discussed the human body’s immune defense system and how it works to protect individuals from infectious diseases as well as inherent diseases such as inflammation and cancer. He focused on a particular area of the immune defense fortress that generates protective immune agents called antibodies (commonly abbreviated as “Abs”) that specifically detect and eliminate infectious pathogens and/or tissue cells containing altered biomolecules associated with inherent diseases to maintain a person’s health. He will also provided an overview on bioengineering technologies being pursued across the pharmaceutical industry to develop Abs that can target disease-specific agents to further arm a patient’s immune system to improve their morbidity and ultimately cure them of the disease of which they are afflicted.
Our first Science on the Hill! Thanks to all who came out as we discussed Charles Darwin's infamous voyage on the HMS Beagle. What a way to kick off our science cafe program with one of the most influential contributions to science. We learned about the clues Darwin used to discover the mechanism behind evolution, the story behind Darwin's quest, the people involved, and the scandal that surrounded it.
Our first talk featured, Dr. Scott McRobert, Professor of Biology at Saint Joseph's University, who has expertise in evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, endangered species, genetics and environmental science.