Researchers present at the Department of Biological Sciences seminar series

With the end of the fall semester brings an end to the Department of Biological Sciences fall semester Seminar Series, which has been going on since Sept. 29.

Heather Johnson presents on black bear behavior during on the Department of Biological Sciences seminar series, hosted at the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building. Photo credit: Joseph Diaz

The series has been a window into the research that is being conducted by researches on topics relating to both Alaska and other places around the world. Past presentations have been on a variety of topics, from how stress in the nervous system and endocrine glands impacts larval development, to how acidic saline lakes in Australia can serve as a Mars analog.

Brandon Briggs, assistant biology professor at UAA, has been to every presentation this semester.

“It’s really good to get a broad sense not only of what’s happening at UAA but also within Alaska itself,” Briggs said.

The seminar series has been going on for several years, however, one of Briggs’ concerns is lack of attendance at the presentations. He believes this may due to the department only advertising through the biology department website and on Facebook and Twitter.

“I am not convinced that it has been the most effective way,” Briggs said.

One of the best parts of these presentations, according to Briggs, is that students and attendees are able to interact with researchers who present.

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“It is good for students to see how the things they were taught in school can be applied in the real world,” Briggs said.

Paul Schuette, past presenter and program zoologist at the Alaska Center for Conservation Science, presented on Nov. 10 about his research on rare species in Kenya and Zambia.

Schuette has met with several faculty members from the biological sciences department. They had discussed potential topics of collaboration, and opportunities for student involvement in the future.

Schuette’s believes that the Biological Sciences seminar series is beneficial to the UAA community.

“The seminar series provides an opportunity to formally discuss your work, learn from your colleagues and, if you’re lucky, get inspired or inspire new and fresh ideas,” Schuette said. “It’s always nice when you can get undergraduate and graduate students to attend. For those interested in a career centered around research, it’s a great opportunity to hear scientists discuss their work.”

Dec. 1 will be the final seminar for the fall semester, presented by Max Kullberg, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences on the topic of cancer research.

For more information on the upcoming and spring presentations, visit the biology department’s Facebook.