Louisiana Tech seminar series concludes highly successful, first-year run
The ADVANCE Networking Grant Seminar Series on Stem Cells and Biomedical Research at Louisiana Tech University recently held its final presentation and discussion session, bringing the curtain down on the series’ inaugural and highly successful run.
The seminar series was organized by Dr. Jamie Newman, a research assistant professor, and Dr. Teresa Murray, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Louisiana Tech. Murray said the goal was to bring in scientists from universities throughout Louisiana and to begin building a network of researchers with “an interest in research that will drive the future of regenerative medicine.”
Beginning in December 2012, the ADVANCE series has featured speakers visiting from institutions such as LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Southern University, and Tulane University as well as faculty from Louisiana Tech. Most of the seminars focused on advances in the area of stem cell research, but also included ancillary topics such as a talk by United States District Judge, Maurice Hicks on gene patenting and a presentation on resources and equipment at Louisiana Tech and LSUHSC-Shreveport that could be used to advance various areas of biomedical research.
“We view the seminar series as a great success,” said Newman. “We were able to involve students, faculty, staff and the community, with many attendees saying that it introduced them to new topics in science and research.”
According to Newman, one undergraduate who attended most of the seminars commented on how the series provided a “family-feel with faculty, students, and speaker” coming together over a shared interest.
“This was indeed the goal of this type of event – to bring people together to learn from each other and find ways to work together,” Newman said.
Along with presenting at the seminars, the visiting guests met with members of the Louisiana Tech faculty to discuss their research interests and the potential for research collaborations. Students were given the opportunity to meet with the invited speaker, which provided students a chance to do their own networking and ask questions about graduate school, career paths, and research.
The ADVANCE seminar series was also designed to serve as a vehicle for engaging the general public in open discussions on stem cell research. Because of the controversy that has surrounded the use of stem cells, Newman and Murray wanted to provide the public with a better understanding of where stem cells come from, what type of research is being done with them, and what potential they would have for use in the clinic.
“The series’ first seminar was organized so that anyone, regardless of their background, could learn something,” said Murray. “We also hoped it would create an environment where people could feel comfortable asking questions to acquire accurate knowledge on this topic. That first seminar achieved those objectives, and in fact, brought a good amount of interest to the topic of stem cell research and we want to provide the same environment for future topics.”
“We hope that the success and interest generated by this series will encourage a regular event at Louisiana Tech University to engage students, faculty, staff, and the local community in a conversation on various areas of science and research,” Newman said.“We are very appreciative of all those who funded and participated in the series, particularly the support received from ADVANCE, CBERS, and a generous donation from Southern Care.”