October 12 2012
Elmira College is holding a Lecture Series in the Sciences. This series will run throughout the fall and is free and open to the public. All of the lectures will take place in the Kolker Lecture Hall at Elmira College.
Bryan Karazisia, Ph.D., The College of Wooster,Thursday, October 18, 6:00 p.m.
Happy Fish and Suicidal Shrimp: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Solutions to the Presence of Antidepressants in Water Sources
The current treatment standard for major depression is antidepressant medication. Although thousands of studies and at least 3 meta-analyses indicate that ADM outperforms placebo in the treatment of depression, risk of relapse remains high when ADM treatment is discontinued, so it has been suggested that ADM treatment regimens continue long after remission to prevent relapse.
Recently, the presence of ADM was detected in various water sources. There are only 2 known routes of water contamination: 1) discharge from pharmaceutical factories directly into the water, and 2) by product of human waste (i.e., ADM that is not absorbed in the body passes through urine, into water treatment plants, and then into water streams). A vastly growing body of literature documents behavioral changes in organisms that live contaminated water systems. These changes include suicidal tendencies in shrimp, behavior that resembles autism in fish, and changes in mating and aggressive behaviors.
Douglas Blackiston Ph.D., Tufts University, Tuesday, October 23, 6:00 p.m.
Plasticity of the Vertebrate Nervous System: The Brain's Response to Novel Sensory Information
A major roadblock in the treatment of human sensory disorders, including blindness, has been an incomplete understanding of the nervous system and its ability to adapt to abnormal signals. While progress has been made towards creating artificial or biological replacement eye’s for blind patients, how the brain responds to an implanted structure is unknown. My current work uses molecular techniques in an aquatic frog species to create additional, fully functional, eyes along the body of the organism. Using a combination of developmental, cell biology, and behavioral methods, I have determined that ectopic eyes can confer vision to the host, even when located far from the brain. Results from the these studies shed light on many fundamental questions regarding nervous system plasticity in vertebrates, and are valuable in the continuing search for treatments to human sensory disorders.
Peter Armbruster Ph.D., Georgetown University, Friday, November 2, 6:00 p.m.
Adaptation of an Invasive Mosquito to Environmental Variation in Space and Time: Molecules, Physiology and Life History
Understanding mechanisms of adaptation to spatio-temporal environmental variation is a fundamental goal of evolutionary biology. This issue also has important implications for anticipating biological responses to contemporary climate warming and determining the processes by which invasive species are able to spread rapidly across broad geographic ranges. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is one of the most invasive animals on Earth. Molecular, physiological and life-history studies identify key mechanisms underpinning the invasive success of this mosquito.
Randall Morrison Ph.D., McDaniel College, Friday, November 9, 6:00 p.m.
Islands and Lizard Diversity: Comparing the Bahamas and Madagascar
The Bahamas and Madagascar have strikingly different lizard species assemblages, with very low diversity in the Bahamas and very high diversity in Madagascar. On these islands, however, color and color change, are used in very interesting ways to structure populations regardless of overall diversity.